How Charges of Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody

Domestic violence is an issue with very serious consequences. Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, you can get the help you need. The following draft has been drafted to facilitate the questions that might pop in your head regarding the charges and divorce proceedings.

In a child custody case, the main aim of the judge is to determine what kind of living and visitation would be best for the child who has suffered mental or physical abuse. The court requires proper plans of parenting to be submitted to the court before giving the decision.

Unfortunately many cases of domestic abuse go unnoticed and are usually ignored. If you or your child has suffered domestic abuse, it is your first and foremost duty to report it and seek help from social services. The problem in some cases is the identification of abuse, physical or mental, by the time we identify abuse it is almost too late and the abuser is so used to abusing that it does not even feel like abuse any more, this is more relevant for mental abuse since there is a certain threshold for the human mind to tolerate abuse and understand that you are being abused.

Violence protection order

If you have been in a situation of domestic abuse or fear that it may occur in near future, it is necessary to seek a violence protection order against your spouse. It will be issued if the judge determines that the abuse has occurred before and will occur in near future. If the judge grants your domestic violence protection order, not only will you and your child be safer, the order will likely impact the outcome of an ongoing custody case or provide grounds to modify a previous child custody order.

Domestic violence and Child custody in USA

Child custody with the charges of domestic violence gets complicated but is not impossible. A single episode of unreported domestic violence is not enough evidence for taking away the custody, however if there were several convictions of domestic violence then the visitation of the parent may be supervised or limits be placed on visitation. On a very extreme level, parental rights may be removed from the parent.

  • Visitation

Supervised visitation is explained as meeting with the child under the supervision and presence of another adult who is of sound mind. Although visitation puts restrictions and limits on the visits but this does not mean that the abusive parent would always go through the same limitations to meet his/her child. The parent will have to prove that there is no risk of ongoing or future abuse. The parent will also have to prove that the visitation is now in the best interests of the child and does not show any sort of harsh behavior that causes discomfort to the child when visiting unsupervised

  • Termination of Parental Rights

When it comes to termination of parental rights, it should be well understood that the termination of parental rights, if implemented is permanent and the rights of the parent cannot be reinstated once terminated. This does not work like visitation and has serious consequences, so you should be very careful with termination and should consider these precautions so as to avoid termination of parental rights.

  1. NO sign of neglect or abuse should be shown in the court or in front of the opposition.
  2. NO such move should be made where the child’s best interests are not shown, if not shown then they should not be violated either.
  3. Felony assault of the child.
  4. Chronic abuse of the child.
  5. Conviction of sexual abuse of the child.

Battered Immigrant

If the abuser is an immigrant, the victim may be reluctant to leave an abusive relationship. The abuser views the victim as a threat that in return the victim being scared and bullied does not report the abuse. If an immigrant is abused, he/she must immediately leave the situation without any fear and contact the United States Customs Enforcement Authorities. There is a very fair/strong chance that the immigrant can stay in the country under a special visa category without being sent back to their country.

If the parent or the abuser has to seek parental rights or unsupervised visitation then the abuser has to complete a 52-week Batterers intervention program so as to gain access to unsupervised visitation or parental rights.

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