What steps can I take against an abusive boyfriend and father in order to gain primary custody of our children?

I have been with my boyfriend for almost 3 years. We have a 16 month old son and I am 31 weeks pregnant with our second son. We got into a big argument yesterday. My boyfriend ended up hurting our son and then terrifying him as he punch the door beside me while holding our son. When I went to call my sister to come get us he smashed the phone and pushed me down. This is not the first time he’s been violent but it is definitely the worst he’s been. I was going on a trip out of state and I won’t be back until Sunday. I have no where else to stay but would like to take legal action and get primary custody. I intend to move out soon. What steps should I take while still living with him at his parents’ house?

Asked on July 4, 2014 under Family Law, North Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You need to protect yourself and your son and I think that moving out "soon" is not soon enough. Given his violent behavior I would not do anything to provoke him while you are still in the house. What you need to do is seek help from any organization in your area that helps victims of domestic violence.  I am going to give you a link to an organization in Burke's County North Carolina and if that is not your county, then maybe they can point you in the right direction. Once you are safely out of the house you need to get an order of protection and seek to terminate his parental rights (if they have been established; since you are not married that is always a question). It does not sound like having him in your life is a positive thing for you or your children.  Good luck.


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