Domestic Violence & Custody Rights
How Domestic Violence Can Impact Custody Decisions
Managing a family is often very high-stress, with many factors causing friction within couples. Financial difficulty, jealousy, frustration at work, and sometimes incompatibility between spouses can all contribute to stress and conflict within a marriage. Arguments are something every couple must eventually deal with, when emotions are at their highest and situations become tense. Some people naturally handle these sorts of stresses better than others – and some do not handle them well at all.
Tragically, there are those who cannot manage their temper and react in the worst possible way to the stresses of family life. Frustration and anger can boil over in these individuals, turning an unfortunate argument violent or physically lashing out at their loved ones over the difficulties they face from day to day. Sometimes alcohol and drug abuse can intensify these behaviors, prompting violence from people who would otherwise never do their family harm.
Domestic violence is a serious issue, and it is taken very seriously in family court.
In cases of child custody in particular it is very important factor in determining whether custody should be joint or belong solely to one parent, and how visitation is determined and managed. The potential that a parent might harm their child is a vital consideration when determining how much contact that parent should have, and whether or not that contact should be supervised, and as such every state in the US directly considers a record of domestic violence, if one exists, when determining the best interests of the child. In California, such a record of domestic violence, if found to have occurred within five years of the custody hearing, will automatically result in a presumption against sole, joint, or legal custody for the offender, and can even result in a child protective order, barring the parent from seeing the child at all. Such a presumption can only be rebutted with a preponderance of evidence showing that the parent is not a danger to the child, and afterwards the court must explain in writing its findings and the reasons for granting custody to the parent.
When there is a record of domestic violence
In a case where a history of domestic violence has contributed to a divorce, it is vital that you know your rights, and how to protect yourself and your children from your abuser. It is important to know when to call the authorities, and what groups can offer you help and support when you or your children has suffered from domestic violence, and during your divorce and custody hearings the assistance of an experienced family law attorney is immensely helpful. You should seek the advice of an attorney who knows what evidence the court needs to prove incidents of domestic violence, how to navigate custody agreements, and, if necessary, how to file restraining orders to help protect you and your children.
Have you been falsely accused of Domestic Violence?
Custody laws concerning domestic violence are very strict specifically because the protection of children is paramount. If you have been falsely accused it is important to know your rights, and to know how to fight such an accusation should one arise – to be able to present evidence of your innocence and challenge any unjust accusations that could potentially harm your relationship with your children. An experienced family law attorney can help you defend yourself and keep you from losing the right to custody of your children.