Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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Who was Caitlyn Whitehurst?

Caitlyn Whitehurst was a resident of Pitt County, North Carolina. In May of 2019, Caitlyn’s ex-boyfriend Christopher Garris laid in wait outside Caitlyn’s family property, where he shot and killed her. After killing Caitlyn, Garris turned the gun on himself in a murder-suicide. Continue reading →

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M.E. v. T.J., ___ N.C. App. ___ (2020).

Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) are under chapter 50B in North Carolina. They are sought by complaining parties when they are the victims of violence. But under this section, in order to seek a DVPO, a complaining party must first claim domestic violence perpetrated by someone with whom the complaining party has or had a personal relationship. However, even with recent amendments, the statute currently did not allow for a same-sex, non-married, couple to seek a DVPO if they did not reside together. Below is what could be a landmark case, declaring that the 50B statute is unconstitutional. Continue reading →

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In Reece v. Holt, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, reviewed N.C.G.S. Chapter 50 for child custody and subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff Father claimed that an ex parte order established a “presumption” supporting a claim for domestic violence under N.C.G.S. § 50B. This article will focus on the domestic violence action only. Continue reading →

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Suppose you have filed a complaint requesting a domestic violence protective order against your partner, and before the return hearing required by law you decide that you want to dismiss the complaint. Victims of domestic violence sometimes dismiss claims out of fear of further harm or retaliation. Or they dismiss for other reasons: they decide to reconcile; they find themselves in an adverse financial position; they reconcile for the children; or they lack sufficient evidence to prosecute the claim. What type of dismissal should you enter if you are the victim and find you need to file the dismissal before the hearing? Continue reading →

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As we proceed through the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence incidents have increased in North Carolina. Isolation and lockdown likely have exacerbated conditions that may have already been present in a rocky relationship. Financial woes and job losses have only added to the stress. Domestic violence and violence against intimate partners have been on the rise. Here, we will briefly discuss how the Court can grant emergency relief for the victims of domestic violence. Continue reading →

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The Greensboro and High Point area is fortunate to be served by Family Service of the Piedmont, a local non-profit agency providing families and individuals affordable services in dealing with domestic violence, mental health, child abuse, and financial stability issues. Continue reading →

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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic can add another disturbing statistic: domestic violence incidents have increased in North Carolina. Isolation and lockdowns likely have exacerbated conditions that may have been already present in a rocky relationship. Financial woes and job loss have only increased the stress. For some, these circumstances amounted to the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Continue reading →

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One form of domestic violence occurring between current or former dating partners or spouses is intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence (IPV), according to the CDC, affects one out of every four women and one out of every seven men. IPV includes psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or stalking. Many victims of IPV experience sexual and/or physical violence or stalking before age 18. Continue reading →

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October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Although many find comfort and sanctuary within their own home, others do not because of physical violence by a partner. By U.S. Department of Justice estimates, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men endure physical violence by the action of a partner every year. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is an outstanding resource for individuals to call for help and guidance if they are experiencing domestic abuse. Continue reading →

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Doyle v. Doyle, 176 N.C. App. 547 (2006)

Sometimes, what kicks off a divorce is not a slow descent into a frustrating marriage, but instead a jarring and violent incident that cannot be reconciled. Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO) can be granted to spouses that fear for their or their minor children’s safety. A DVPO plays a major role in a divorce case that includes claims for child custody. In North Carolina, our laws require that judges in child custody proceedings consider acts of domestic violence and safety of the child when making determinations. Is it fair for a judge in custody to allow new arguments for a settled case? Below, we discuss the implications of such a DVPO on child support through the lens of a legal doctrine called collateral estoppel.

(a) Facts: Plaintiff husband and Defendant wife married in 2001 and had one child together. They separated in 2003 and a complaint for child custody and support was filed in 2004. During this period, the parties alternated custody of the minor child on their own accord. On one such exchange, Plaintiff was at Defendant’s home to pick up the child when Defendant tried to prevent them leaving by trying to remove the child from Plaintiff’s arms. Defendant struck Plaintiff’s groin, and Plaintiff responded with his own use of force. Police were called and Defendant filed for a DVPO. Plaintiff filed a counterclaim for the same. Temporary custody was awarded to Defendant. In the DVPO hearing, the trial court Judge Mull found that Defendant had initiated the altercation, thus dismissing Defendant’s complaint and granting Plaintiff’s. In 2004, a hearing was conducted for the issues of child custody and support. At that hearing, trial court Judge Sigmon disagreed with Judge Mull, and ordered Defendant have primary physical custody. Plaintiff appealed.