How Does Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody?

Not all family problems are the same. Some may be minor, allowing parents to work through them. Others are hostile, causing parents to part ways through a divorce. And in some cases, some are violent, resulting in a parent taking action to protect him or herself. When domestic violence is involved in a Texas divorce, it is possible to safely get through the divorce process. Even more so, a spouse may be able to take additional steps to ensure safety if children are involved.

How does domestic violence impact child custody? The courts treat domestic violence seriously, especially if children are involved in the matter. Based on current data, roughly 3 million children nationwide witness acts of domestic violence each year. These acts have become so widespread that courts are left to determine what is in the best interests of the child when it comes to custody.

When dealing with accusations of domestic violence, the courts consider certain factors such as whether these acts had an effect on or were directed at the child, whether the accused parent poses a danger to the child or other parent, the severity and frequency of the acts, whether there is a pending criminal case against the accused parent, the physical evidence of the abuse and any police reports that document the incidents.

When domestic violence is involved in a custody matter, the accused parent may or may not have access to visitation. In some cases, the court may revoke a parent’s visitation rights temporarily or long-term. In other cases, the court may order supervised visitation, revise a current order by revoking overnight visits, order parenting classes or anger management, order the accused parent to participate in domestic violence counseling, and even issue a restraining order or order for protection for the other parent and even the child.

Family law matters can take center stage during the divorce process. Whether it is due to a domestic violence matter or another type of conflict, it is important to understand what options one has to resolve these matters, protect him or herself and meet the best interests of the child or children involved.

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