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A domestic violence conviction can affect your child custody rights

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2021 | Child Custody

Parental and custodial rights may seem like a “given” for most parents. Moms and dads may think that there’s nothing they could do that would cause them to be involuntarily separated from their children. That’s not the case, though.

Protection orders in domestic violence cases are often filed in family law court. This is the same court system that hears divorce and custody cases. There’s a clear line of communication between judges in such matters. Any domestic violence allegations may result in an emergency hearing regarding the custody of your kids.

Is domestic violence a big problem in the U.S.?

A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Family Violence highlighted how 15.5 million American children annually witness domestic violence incidents among their parents and other family members.

How do domestic violence allegations affect custody?

A family law judge’s primary responsibility in child custody cases is to do what they deem is in your son’s or daughter’s best interest. This includes protecting their physical safety and mental health.

It’s not uncommon for family law judges to temporarily remove a parent’s custody while they’re awaiting the adjudication of their domestic violence case. Judges may allow the parent visitation rights during this period.

Moving from having visitation to regaining custodial rights may not go as seamlessly as you may expect, whether there is a dismissal of charges, an acquittal, a plea deal or you complete a sentence post-conviction. This may particularly be the case if a protection order is still in place. Petitioning the court to allow you to enjoy unsupervised instead of supervised visitation may be more realistic. You may petition for custody once again after some time.

Many child psychologists argue that children benefit from being raised by both parents. Domestic violence charges can certainly sideline your ability to do what is best for your child, though. There is hope if there’s been a recent shift in your custodial rights. You’ll need to carefully articulate to the judge presiding over your case why it’s better for you to be involved in your child’s life than an uninvolved spectator.