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How does domestic violence affect child custody cases?

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2021 | Criminal Defense, Family Law |

Few things can derail a child custody case in California as quickly as a domestic violence accusation. An accusation doesn’t automatically mean that the other parent won’t get custody, but if their former spouse has proof that the abuse took place, the judge might deny them custody or visitation rights. This could happen even if the parent didn’t abuse the child in question.

How can a domestic violence accusation affect a custody case?

When a judge makes a ruling on a child custody case, they want the child to grow up in a safe, loving environment. It’s likely that a parent who commits domestic abuse won’t be able to provide that. Even if they abused their spouse, a partner or another individual in the house and not the child, they’re still placing the child in a dangerous and unpredictable environment.

However, the judge won’t automatically take the other parent’s word for it. They might look at the parent’s background to see if they have a history of domestic violence convictions. Similarly, they might look for police reports or Child Protective Services (CPS) cases. With the help of a family law attorney, the other parent might provide evidence that the abuse took place.

What happens if one parent accuses the other of abuse?

If one parent can convince the judge that the other parent committed abuse, that parent might lose their custody and visitation rights. At most, the judge might grant supervised visitation so the parent isn’t left alone with the child.

The judge might also order the parent to take anger management classes to reduce the risk of a future outburst. If the parent complies with the court orders, the judge might give them visitation rights in the future. Attending therapy could help the parent become a better role model for their child.