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Parental rights and domestic violence: Custody rights

After allegations of domestic violence, a court is more likely to be conservative when determining custody arrangements. One concern is that the once-abusive party could become abusive toward his or her child. This is why it's important for all aspects of the case to be discussed before custody cases are determined.

It's believed that at least 3 million children witness domestic violence each year. These children are exposed to violence even when they are not victimized themselves. This is a large problem and can affect the child's psychological health.

Evidence of domestic abuse or violence can be considered during a child custody case. A court can decide that the parent who was the aggressor is too violent or poses a risk to a child and decide not to grant that parent custody rights. The court may also decide to limit that parent's custody rights.

Judges consider a number of things including whether or not the child was a victim of the domestic violence directly, the severity of the violence that occurred, how often the violence occurred and if there is physical evidence or a police report of the abuse.

A court can decide to limit a parent's custody rights and to order supervised visitation, to issue a restraining order, to send the parent to domestic violence counseling or decide other circumstances are better for the child not listed here. If your spouse has been victimizing you and your child, there is a way forward. Your attorney can help you understand what rights the other parent is likely to have to your child and what you can do if you want to challenge those rights. Our website has more information.

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