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Legal Information: North Carolina

Custody

Updated: 
October 13, 2020

Can I get temporary custody if I have a restraining order (DVPO) against the other parent?

If a restraining order (called a domestic violence protection order or DVPO) has been granted due to domestic violence, the order may include temporary custody of minor children and temporary visitation rights. Be sure to tell the judge if you would like temporary custody included in the DVPO. Custody granted with a restraining order can only last for up to one year until the order expires. Even if the protective order is renewed, the custody provision will not renew.

If you request temporary custody as part of your DVPO, the judge must consider the following factors when determining custody or visitation rights:

  • whether the minor child was exposed to a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury or sexual abuse;
  • whether the minor child was present during acts of domestic violence;
  • whether a weapon was used or threatened to be used during any act of domestic violence;
  • whether the abuser caused or attempted to cause serious bodily injury to you or your minor child;
  • whether the abuser placed you or your minor child in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
  • whether the abuser caused you to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat, or duress;
  • whether there is a pattern of abuse against you or your minor child;
  • whether the abuser has abused or endangered the minor child during visitation;
  • whether the abuser has used visitation as an opportunity to abuse or harass the aggrieved party;
  • whether the abuser has improperly concealed or detained the minor child;
  • whether the abuser has otherwise acted in a manner that is not in the best interest of the minor child.

Also, if the judge grants visitation as part of a DVPO, the judge must also provide for safety and well-being of you and your minor child. The judge may also consider supervised visitation, exchanging the child in a safe place, and other factors that would contribute to the child’s safety.1

1 NCGS § 50B-3