When we think of domestic violence, images often come to mind of black eyes, bruises, busted lips, or broken bones. However, domestic violence encompasses much more than that. Domestic violence is abuse or undue manipulation through power and control that occurs between two parties involved, or formerly involved, in a personal or intimate relationship. It can include spouses, former spouses, couples who have lived together, couples who have dated, as well as children, parents, and grandparents.
North Carolina’s definition of domestic violence includes the following:
- Attempting to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury;
- Placing a member of the family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
- Continued harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress, including stalking; or
- Rape or sexual offenses
The family law attorneys at Tharrington Smith know and understand that domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse. It includes mental and emotional abuse which is easily concealed from family, friends, and coworkers. Domestic violence in the form of mental and emotional abuse is characterized by a pattern of behavior on the part of the abuser that is designed to cause the victim to feel threatened, fearful, intimidated, and a sense of being powerless.
There is legal protection available to victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence protective orders can be obtained to help keep the abuser away from the victim and protect the victim from further harm. Having an experienced attorney representing you and presenting crucial evidence to the court can be critical to the outcome of your case.
In North Carolina, a legal action that is initiated to seek a domestic violence protective order is a civil matter, rather than a criminal matter, although criminal charges may be brought in connection with incidents of domestic violence, such as assault or communicating a threat.
At Tharrington Smith, our experienced family law attorneys provide legal services to victims of domestic violence through civil litigation. In addition to helping victims obtain a restraining order and emergency child custody, we also assist with ancillary matters related to domestic violence which may include obtaining legal possession of the family residence, child custody, and spousal support and child support. If you are a domestic violence victim or opposing domestic violence accusations or charges, you need a committed and highly skilled family law attorney to help you understand your options and avoid any lasting implications. The experienced attorneys at Tharrington Smith can support you through this difficult time. Please call us for a consultation.