Your Rights With An Abusive Spouse


Being a spouse or partner in an abusive relationship is a very difficult situation for you and your children. Not knowing where to turn or what rights you have to protect yourself and your family can be painful as you try to do the best you can. The state of North Carolina provides protection for people in this situation through the courts – Domestic Violence Protective Orders, which are also called a “50B,” or Restraining Order.

A Restraining Order, is signed by a judge and orders your abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers legal protection from domestic violence to both female, male victims and minor children.

Benefits of a Restraining Order:

If you are in an abusive relationship, there are important benefits to getting a Restraining Order.

  • A Restraining Order can protect you and your loved ones in the following ways:
  • Orders the abuser to stay away from and to not assault, threaten or harass you and your minor children;
  • Living Arrangements:
    • Allows you to maintain possession of your residence or home and order the abuser to move out and not return, no matter who owns the home or is on the lease; or
    • Orders the abuser to provide suitable alternative housing for you and your children; and
    • Allows the police to remove the abuser from the home so you can return;
  • Custody:
    • Gives you temporary custody of your minor children,
    • Orders the abuser to pay temporary child support and
    • Establish temporary visitation (custody, child support, and visitation only apply if the abuser is the parent of the child);
  • Orders your abusive spouse to pay temporary spousal support;
  • Immediate arrest of abuser for any violation;
  • Recovery of attorney’s fees.

Being in an abusive relationship is not easy on you or your children. The law provides protection if you are in such a relationship. There are specific legal steps necessary to obtain and renew a Restraining Order (DVPO or “50B).” Our team of caring qualified attorneys are here to help if you find yourself in such a terrible situation. Call us today at 704-333-9900 or online here

contact information

plumides, romano & Johnson, pc

PHONE: 704-333-9900

FAX:   704-358-0536

Decided to Divorce – Next Steps?


You have reached the decision to separate and get a divorce. Although you cannot actually file for a divorce until after you have been separated for over a year, couples might be more likely to separate in January than in other months.

If the day has finally come that you and your spouse need to call it quits, you might be wondering what to do next.

Should I move out of the house?
How do I handle my finances while we are separated?
How do I manage custody of the children, including being able to visit them if I leave?
These kinds of questions are common for people who decide to separate or divorce. Since ending your marriage is complicated, it is important that you address all the questions you have right from the start. By taking a few steps to prepare for your separation, you may not only find the answers to these questions, but you might realize there are other issues you never even dreamed of.

Today, we are going to focus on considering your children and how to make things less impactful for them and you.

Helping children through a divorce

As you go through a separation or divorce, you are likely worried about how your children are going to deal with the situation. It is important to remember that children will process your separation or divorce differently than you and they may have difficulty expressing their emotions. It is highly recommended that you engage or consult with a child therapist for your children and follow the therapist’s advice on how to best explain your decision to separate or divorce.

Regardless, there are several ways that you can help your kids cope with divorce.

Be prepared to have multiple conversations about the breakup with the children. After the first conversation, kids may need time to process their thoughts and feelings. If the children do not bring up any questions or concerns, you should check in occasionally to gauge their true feelings.

It is natural for kids to worry about contributing to the divorce, so you should alleviate their fears. This includes letting them know that the divorce or separation is not their fault, that both parents love them unconditionally and will still be involved in their lives.

It may not be easy, but you should make an effort to respect your spouse in front of the kids. Any negative comments or arguments in front of the children only add stress and anxiety to their lives in an already difficult time. If problems do arise, parents should discuss them when the kids are not around.

Flexibility is important while everyone is adjusting to a new family dynamic. You and your spouse should try to maintain a stable environment for the children but also be understanding if things occasionally go wrong. It will take time for everyone to adapt to a different schedule and way of doing things.

Based on the age of the children and your circumstances you may be able to work out child custody without having to go to court. Avoiding litigation can save them time and money. Regardless, you should still consult with an attorney to discuss the enforceability and legality of any arrangement you would like to make.

Visitation schedules that meet family needs

Your goal should be to best set up a child custody or visitation schedule that meets the needs of you, your spouse and the children. While child custody may be one of the most contentious issues, a clear visitation schedule can help to ease the road ahead for the entire family. In determining a visitation schedule concerning the children, there is no set “formula.” Rather, there are some particularly common arrangements for visitation, but in all cases, the children’s “best interests” are the most important.

Some Common Visitation Schedules

  • Alternating Weekends: One of the most common visitation schedules has the child spend every other weekend at the non-custodial parent’s home. This time could begin on Friday evening after school and end on Sunday evening. This kind of schedule can work best for parents with a typical Monday-through-Friday work schedule and can also accommodate former spouses who live some distance apart from one another.
  • Alternating Weeks: Under this scenario, the parents alternate having the children one week at a time. Such a schedule is usually suited more for younger children and when both parents have been heavily involved in child-rearing.
    9/5: This visitation schedule has the children with one parent for nine days and then with the other parent for five days. Like the
  • Alternating Weeks schedule, this schedule works better with younger children as they may not have as many outside activities or diverse friends at a younger age.

Creating rules for two homes after a divorce

One of the challenges families face is dealing with two different sets of house rules. While this may not seem like a big deal, having different standards in each home can be confusing for children.

After a divorce, children need order and constancy. A unified set of rules for both houses can help accomplish this. One parent might be sterner in some instances, but it is better to have the same rules in both houses anyway if at all possible. Otherwise, it may be more difficult for children to adjust when they are allowed leeway in one household but not the other.

If parents are having trouble agreeing on bedtimes, chores, proper manners and more, a parenting class or mediation might be helpful. Parenting workshops teach parents to compromise, offer child rearing norms and provide examples to demonstrate the importance of a cohesive set of rules. A mediator can also help parents reach a compromise by facilitating communication and trying to help parents reach a solution that benefits all parties.

While it can be hard to deal with an ex, parents must set aside differences for the good of the children. This is typically necessary when making a child custody arrangement. It is important to remember that children usually benefit from a relationship with both parents.

Tips for co-parenting with a difficult former spouse

Co-parenting is not always easy and might be a struggle with your former spouse. But the the most important thing a parent can do is remember to keep the focus on the child and keep their “best interest” at the forefront. Remembering that the child’s well-being is what matters may help in navigating the relationship with the other parent. Consider a few tips:

  • Limit any communications with the other parent to matters involving the child.
    Avoid getting drawn into old arguments about other topics.
  • Try to set firm boundaries for the ex-spouse around personal issues, if necessary.
  • Avoid saying negative things about the other parent in front of the child. This can cause the child to feel unable to share honest emotions.
    Encourage the relationship between the other parent and the child.
  • Consider taking note of what types of things upset the other parent so those things can be avoided or at least anticipated.

After the initial turmoil of separation and divorce, parents may find that the conflict recedes, which may result in happier, more well-adjusted children.

Tips for co-parenting with a difficult former spouse

There are a number of unique custody options that people can consider, including joint or shared custody. One alternative type of shared custody option is called “birdnesting.” It means that the kids remain in the family home while each parent moves out on a rotating basis.

However, “birdnesting” is usually a short-term, transitional solution that is best suited for parents seeking an amicable divorce. And Judges do not seem to favor such arrangements. When divorcing spouses are regularly arguing, those arguments are likely to continue rather than end during the nesting process. For these families, a traditional joint child custody arrangement may be more suitable. Even for parents with strong communication and a positive relationship, nesting is typically done for a short period of time. If it is done for too long, however, it could encourage false ideas that the parents may reconcile in the future.

Parents who are going through a divorce may initially find that navigating the framework of child custody and visitation can be confusing and emotional. Child custody can either be decided by parents or by a judge. While in a high-conflict divorce, a parent might feel that sitting down and negotiating with the other parent is too difficult, doing so allows parents to control the negotiation and gives them the opportunity to reach a decision they may be happier with than that of a judge. Parents may also choose to have their respective attorneys do the negotiating. While custody can be an emotional issue, parents should try to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child.

A family law attorney may provide advice and representation throughout the process to help a divorcing parent protect their relationship with their children and achieve a fair settlement on an array of divorce matters, including child custody, spousal support and property division.

Thinking of separating from your spouse and starting the divorce process, let us help you through this difficult time. Call us today at 704-333-9900.

contact information

plumides, romano & Johnson, pc

PHONE: 704-333-9900

FAX:   704-358-0536

Custody And Visitation Rights For Fathers


Custody and visitation rights for fathers

Unmarried or divorced fathers in Charlotte might struggle to get the custody arrangement they want with their children. Over 80 percent of custodial parents are mothers, and this suggests that courts still favor them in child custody cases. Fathers may also fall behind on child support or be blocked from seeing their children altogether if the mother files a protection order.

Some of these situations could have a severe effect on a father’s life. For example, one father who fell behind on child support was jailed, lost his job and had to declare bankruptcy. Experts say that fathers should try to pay something, which may prevent the most severe punishments, and consider going to court to ask for a modification. Courts may grant this if the father’s income has changed or there has been another significant change in circumstances.

A father who, according to court papers filed by the mother, had mood swings and tried to stop his wife from leaving in the car with their children had his access blocked by a protection order. 

Although he said he would never hurt the children, courts put this order in place when they believe children’s safety could be in danger.

Unmarried fathers may face different challenges. They might have to prove paternity before they can begin the process of getting custody or visitation rights.

If a child is already living with the mother, the court probably will not give the father custody unless the mother is unable to care for the child. However, unmarried or divorced parents may be able to work out an agreement for child custody and visitation that feels equitable. They may still want to make this agreement legally binding since this can offer protection if one parent does not pay child support or tries to block the other parent’s access to the child.



Over 55 years of experience winning 1000's of complex, divorce, domestic violence, alimony, child custody, interstate and international cases.

Managing partners Michael Romano and Richard Johnson are well versed and experienced in the court procedures and trial strategies. They take time to fully understand their clients situation whether simple or complex and develop a personalized solution.



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North Carolina Collision Against Domestic Violence

Carolinas Medical Center

Domestic Violence 704-446-3999 main

Mecklenburg County Women’s Commission

704-336-3210 (during business hours)

Greater Charlotte Hope Line  980.771.4673

Clyde & Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter, an 80-bed facility in Charlotte.

National Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224



Understand the laws and what to do to get out of a bad situation quickly.

Child Custody Decisions

Child custody decisions can be affected by living arrangements.

When a North Carolina parent is preparing to seek child custody, they should be aware of how their living arrangements could affect the outcome of their hearing. In fact, courts often base decisions about child custody and visitation at least in part on the parent’s living circumstances. While standards may vary as to what is acceptable, there are certain factors to keep in mind when preparing for a custody hearing.

For example, the child’s age and gender can affect how a judge may view certain types of living arrangements. Opposite-sex children are likely to need a greater level of privacy, including private space for dressing or a separate bedroom. Older children also need more privacy and space than younger children, and they may need space from one another. While same-sex, close-in-age siblings might be expected to share rooms, a judge may look less favorably on an older teen boy and a preteen girl sharing a bedroom. Of course, finances are a major factor here, and parents don’t have to be wealthy to have overnight visitation time with their children.

The number of kids involved may also be considered, including children from other relationships. A family court judge will take into account the sleeping arrangements for all of the children in the family. Safety can also be a consideration, from the safety of the surrounding neighborhood to the presence of unrelated people. If a parent is living with roommates, judges may want more information to determine whether they are safe people to share private space with the children.

When preparing for a child custody hearing, a parent can improve their chances for a positive outcome by presenting their case clearly and effectively. A family law attorney could help a parent present solid evidence and strong arguments.




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