Separations are difficult for everyone. Even if a couple separates amicably, there is still a loss in the end of a long-term relationship. But for people in physically or emotionally abusive relationships, separations are remarkably more difficult to navigate. This is because in addition to the pain of ending a relationship with a person you love, you are also facing great risk of physical or psychological harm, or even death. This is why if you are considering separating from an abusive spouse, you should plan with your safety in mind.
Domestic Violence is About Control
Domestic violence is very real and it is incredibly serious. In fact, in North Carolina, there have already been forty domestic violence-related homicides in 2017. Under North Carolina law, domestic violence includes the following acts by a person with whom you’ve had a personal relationship: (1) attempts to cause bodily injury; (2) acts that place you, a family member, or household member in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; (3) continued harassment that “rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress”; or (4) committing a rape or sexual offense as set forth in specific statutes.
Unfortunately, if you are in a relationship in which domestic violence is occurring, you don’t need to hear a definition to know what it is. Nevertheless, you find yourself confused, because you love the abuser. You are afraid of what the person can and will do to you and your children. You may feel trapped, like you don’t have resources or options to leave the situation. You are not alone. These feelings are a result of the violence, manipulation, and harassment that your abuser uses to assert control.
There are resources to turn to if you need help. If you are in imminent danger, call 911 for help. Otherwise, contact the North Carolina Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Further, if you want to separate from an abusive partner, you need to create a plan that safely gets you and the children away. This is because volatility and violence are known to escalate during times of separation and post separation. In the counties that New Direction Family Law Serves, you can contact the domestic violence programs listed below for guidance or shelter. You should avoid using your personal phone and computer to seek these resources, as it is common for batterers to track phone and Internet activity.
Wake County — Interact
DV Crisis Line: (919) 828-7740
Office: (919) 828-7501
Johnston County — Harbor, Inc
Office: (919) 938-3566
Crisis: (919) 631-5478
Lee County — HAVEN (Helping Abuse & Violence End Now)
Office: (919) 774-8923
Crisis: (919) 774-8923
Harnett County — SAFE of Harnett County
Office: (910) 893-7233
Crisis: (910) 893-7233
Cumberland County — CARE- Family Domestic
Office: (910) 677-2528
Crisis: (910) 677-2532
Website: CARE Web Site
Nash County — My Sister’s House
Office: (252) 316-8444
Crisis (toll free): 888-465-9507
Granville County — Families Living Violence Free
Franklin County — Safe Space
Office: (919) 497-5599
Crisis (toll free): 800-620-6120
Durham County — Durham Crisis Response Center
Office: (919) 403-9425
Crisis: (919) 403-6562
In addition, you should consult with an attorney about your legal options to protect yourself post-separation. This may include obtaining a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) to protect yourself until you can file for divorce, as well as temporary orders for child custody. Further, an attorney can assist you to keep your address confidential from your abuser.
If you are contemplating separation or divorce, contact us to set up a discreet consultation. The attorneys at New Direction Family Law have twenty years of combined experience helping clients obtain protective orders, separations, and divorce. We understand that this is a scary, complicated, uncertain time, and will use the full extent of our knowledge and experience to guide you. Call New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 for an appointment, or visit our website. We serve Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law