Child Custody In The Aftermath Of Domestic Violence

Child custody cases involving domestic violence pose unique and complex challenges for the legal system. The court must somehow find a balance between maintaining parental rights and what is best for the children involved. The results are often sad, but can sometimes be tragic.


What Is Domestic Violence?


Every state has a legal definition of domestic violence. They are all similar, but just not identical. As a rule of thumb, domestic violence is the unlawful striking of someone with whom you have a blood or dating relationship.


This article looks at the complex problems that come up during child custody cases involving domestic violence, the impact of domestic violence on custody rulings, and how proper legal representation can help someone accused of domestic violence find safety and security for their children in the court system.


Child Custody Cases Involving Domestic Violence Are Complicated


To begin with, every state has its own domestic violence and divorce laws. Half of all states say that the perpetrator (the abusive partner) should not have any type of custody of the children. In the other states, they just consider the abuse as a factor when deciding custody, and that’s it. In some cases, mothers have been blamed for the abuse of their children because they didn’t protect them.


Also, history has shown that after parental separation in a domestic violence case where there are children involved, the abuse and harassment continue during the divorce process. If the perpetrator is not making harassing phone calls or using social media to reach out to the victim, then they typically use the victim’s friends or relatives to do so. If they manage to acquire some type of custody, they often use the child as a pawn against the victim. 


Domestic Violence and Child Custody Decisions


When someone is arrested for domestic violence, the courts take it very seriously and may issue a temporary order of protection that prevents them from seeing their spouse and children. These orders can be challenged in court at the hearing, so it is best to attend with proper legal representation.


The court may allow supervised visits, but there are no guarantees. If the defendant has a history of domestic violence, then they may not get any visits at all until the case is resolved. Even then, the chances are good that they will have to fight to regain or keep custody.


You Need The Right People In Your Corner


Fighting a domestic violence charge alone is hard, and nearly impossible when there is child custody involved. Domestic violence defendants need to hire a law firm comprised of lawyers who are experienced with these types of cases. There will be custody hearings to attend, motions to file, depositions to be taken, and paperwork to be created in their best interest. Nobody can do it alone. If someone is convicted of domestic violence, there is a good chance the court may limit direct contact with their children, so the time to hire a lawyer is before that, and not after.