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How does domestic violence impact child custody?

It’s the scary truth that up to 15.5% of children throughout the country witness various acts of domestic violence every year. California couples who are fighting over child custody may also be dealing with domestic violence issues. Family law courts take instances of domestic violence very seriously and will use that information to determine if a parent is able to be granted custody of their child.

What factors does the court consider?

Child custody and visitation battles can bring out the worst in both parents. Due to the fact that some parents falsely accuse their former spouses of domestic violence, courts do not just take one parent’s word for it. Rather, in determining child custody when accusations of domestic violence are present, the judge will consider a few different factors.

The first factor is whether the allegations state that the domestic violence was directed at the child. The second factor is determining whether the accused party still poses a danger to the child or their former spouse. When assessing these allegations, a judge will also take into account the frequency and severity of the domestic violence actions. Lastly, the judge will take into account any police reports documenting alleged abuse and any physical evidence that has been produced of the domestic violence.

Some common rulings in domestic violence cases

In cases of domestic violence, the judge may choose to revoke the accused parent’s visitation rights for a temporary period of time or for the long term. The judge may order supervised visitation until the results of the domestic violence case are determined. A judge may also choose to revise an existing visitation order for the accused parent or order them to take parenting classes or anger management classes.

While child custody cases are difficult to begin with, domestic violence accusations add complexity to a custody ruling. Depending on the individual circumstances of the case, various outcomes may be decided by the presiding judge. If you’ve experienced domestic violence, it’s a good idea to speak to your attorney about presenting that information at your child custody hearing.