Unfortunately, domestic violence is a common occurrence. Not only are these cases extremely difficult for the person being abused, but if there are children in the picture, it affects them too. To make matters even more complicated, a domestic violence case will absolutely change the trajectory of a child custody case, as it should come as no surprise to learn that the court takes these matters very seriously. Here is how a court will treat allegations or a conviction of domestic violence when making decisions that will affect children, and the things for adults to consider when they find themselves in this type of situation.
Types of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence comes in many shapes and forms, from physical abuse, to threats, control, verbal abuse, stalking, and harassment. If any of these instances are under question or proven to be true, a judge will do everything in their power to protect children from potential dangers. In making parenting time decisions, courts use the best interests of the child standard, but sometimes it is simply not safe for both parents to have time with their children. If one parent has a history of being violent, they can undoubtedly lose out on their rights to parenting time.
The Best Interests of the Child
The court will always consider the best interests of the child, especially in a custody case. A judge will examine the risk of physical harm to the child(ren), and will do everything possible to prevent cases of child abuse. Parental fitness and the stability of each parent’s home will also be considered. If one of the parents has a temperament that leads to domestic violence, it may be determined that they are not fit to parent the minor children. Even if someone has never harmed their child, domestic violence is a type of aggression that could eventually lead to child abuse. Sometimes, the best thing for the child’s safety and stability is to prevent any possibilities by not allowing the parent with a history of abuse to be alone with them.
Domestic Violence and Parenting Time
Custody and parenting time are issues that could be affected by domestic violence. Custody not only determines where a child will live, but also whether the parent can make decisions on the child’s behalf. Domestic violence impacts the amount of time, if any, an abusive parent is allowed to see their child(ren). With that being said, domestic violence does not automatically result in a loss of custody or parenting time. The court will investigate the nature of the abuse and determine the present level of danger before making a final decision that will affect the child(ren). One of the most common arrangements in this scenario is the approval of supervised visits in an effort to keep the possibility of a future bond with the parent in place. This may include stipulations like having a court-appointed supervisor or requiring the abusive parent to seek therapy.
Modification and Changes
If you have found your custodial rights reduced because of domestic violence, you should know that the situation may not be permanent. With the help of a family law attorney
, you could petition the court to remove supervision or increase the amount of your parenting time by demonstrating that you have attended therapy and have made the positive changes that are required to display your new outlook on your behavior. By establishing a track record and showing how you have changed, the court may decide that it is in the best interest of the child for you to be able to spend more time with them. If you are on either end of this predicament, the best thing you can do is seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney so they can help you navigate this detailed process. Contact us today for a consultation!
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