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Domestic Violence and Child Custody

Few will disagree that domestic violence has a negative impact on the children of the parents who fight.  Although the majority agrees that one parent is usually the perpetrator of domestic violence, it does not mean that the other parent is most favorably advancing the child’s best interest.  Therefore, in cases where domestic violence has been alleged, it is important to exam both sides of the coin and obtain as much information about both sides of the story.

 

The Court will consider a case to be domestic violence related if, in the past five (5) years, one parent was convicted of domestic violence against the other, or if any court has decided that one parent committed domestic violence against the other.  Domestic violence occurs when a person intentionally or recklessly causes or attempts to cause bodily injury or sexual assault to the other, or places the other in a reasonable apprehension of immediate serious bodily injury.

 

If the Court concludes that domestic violence has occurred, there is a presumption that the perpetrator should not have sole or joint custody of the parties’ children.  The presumption may be overcome, although the Court cannot ignore the issue.  Factors rebutting the presumption include completion of a batterer’s treatment program or alcohol/drug abuse program, where applicable, completion of parenting classes, compliance with terms of parole or probation, and compliance with a protective order are a few.

 

Issues of domestic violence trump the importance of maintaining frequent and continual visits and the Court must make child custody and visitation orders based on all issues.  If domestic violence has been an issue in your child custody case, it is important that you speak with a family law attorney who can provide answers to your questions and give you the best representation possible.

 

If you have questions about child visitation order and how the issue of domestic violence may have an impact, the Law Office of Heath L. Baker will help you.  Please contact us at (951) 222-2228, or at our website: www.heathbakerlaw.com.  We would love to talk to you in person and discuss the family law or divorce issues that are important to you.