Can a parent who committed violence get custody or visitation?
If the judge finds that domestic violence has occurred, the judge must take into consideration the acts of domestic violence, the safety of the child, and your safety when making a custody or visitation decision.1 However, there are also other factors that the judge will consider when deciding custody and visitation. Therefore, the fact that the other parent committed domestic violence does not necessarily mean that s/he will be denied custody or visitation unless the parent was convicted criminally of first degree forcible rape, second degree forcible rape, statutory rape of a child by an adult, or first-degree statutory rape against you, which resulted in the child being conceived. In this situation, the law specifically says that the offender/parent cannot claim the right to custody or visitation of the child.2
Visitation by the parent who committed violence may be allowed, but only if the judge believes that proper measures can be taken to insure the safety of both you and your child. This may include an exchange in a protected setting or supervised visits. If the judge does not believe that you are in danger from the abuser, the judge may order unsupervised visitation without any measures to protect you or your child. Therefore, if you feel there is still a risk of violence or danger, you or your lawyer must convince the judge that you and your child need protection.3
1 NCGS § 50-13.2(a)
2 NCGS § 50-13.1(a)
3 NCGS § 50B-3