Those who are perpetrators of abuse in North Carolina and elsewhere may attempt to gain control over their victims through their children. Specifically, they try to gain custody or other rights to the children as a means of staying in the victim’s life. This is a form of what is known as coercive control, and it takes the form of financial or mental abuse as opposed to using physical violence against a victim.
An abusive parent may try to turn the children against the other parent by talking about how bad they are at raising them. While most parents who leave an abuser think that they will gain custody of their children, this isn’t always the case. Some courts will not see the abuse as relevant to a current custody case. Instead, the judges may place a higher priority on ensuring that both parents are involved in their children’s lives to best meet their best interest.
It is also possible that a court will be sympathetic to an abusive parent because that person is trying to be a part of the child’s life. This is true despite the fact that abusers tend to have parenting styles that are not good for the child’s well-being. Proposed federal legislation would put an end to unscientific decision making in custody matters.
The best interests of the child are generally the top priority in a custody hearing. This is also the standard that must generally be met when determining if a parent should have visitation or other rights. Parents who are worried about their own safety or the safety of their children may want to look into a protective order. If that doesn’t work, an individual may move to terminate a mother or father’s parental rights completely.