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Do my domestic violence charges affect my child custody arrangements?

| Jul 12, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

When it comes to child custody cases, courts always focus on what is in the child’s best interest. 

While there may not be an active child custody case currently, the court may schedule an emergency legal hearing if prosecutors charge you with domestic violence. Such allegations, even if they’re not proven, can have a detrimental impact on a defendant’s child custody rights.

Why might the court step in and modify custody after my domestic violence arrest?

There are at least 15 million children who witness domestic violence every year in the U.S. This offense is one of the leading reasons why spouses file for divorce in this country. 

Family law judges take any allegations of domestic violence seriously. They do even more so when there are children involved, though. Judges may limit custody or institute supervised visitation if they are concerned about a child facing potential harm while in their defendant’s care. 

Which factors will the court weigh when deciding what to do about custody?

Domestic violence allegations, especially if they’re substantiated, may motivate a judge to limit a parent’s custodial rights and institute visitation. A judge will likely weigh the gravity of the evidence, including: 

  • How recent the alleged incident occurred 
  • Whether there are allegations of ongoing abuse
  • If the abuse was specifically directed at the child
  • How the abuse may have impacted the child
  • The continued risk both parent and child face
  • Whether there are pending charges against the defendant-parent

The court may ask to see physical evidence of the domestic violence before rendering a decision. This may include police reports, hospital records and photographs when deciding what arrangement is best. 

Judges often take precautions to carefully weigh any evidence presented to ensure that a parent isn’t presenting biased information aimed at gaining the upper hand in the child custody case.

Preserving your custody while fighting domestic violence charges

Your child custody rights may be in jeopardy if you’re facing domestic violence charges. Preserving your rights while you have an active case may seem like an uphill battle. Regaining them after your case’s adjudication may be a challenge as well. 

The information on our website about crafting a solid defense in a criminal case, as well as our child custody information, may prove invaluable to you as you set your expectations in your two-pronged case. 

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