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How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody

Domestic violence is a focal point for many mental health and child care safety advocates. Every year, millions of children experience some form of domestic abuse, whether they are victims or witness violent behaviors between their parents.

For this reason, divorce courts that determine child custody arrangements choose a home environment that is not dangerous for children or adults. This does not mean that parents accused of domestic violence never receive custody of their children. Sometimes, parents accused of domestic violence will still have custody agreements, especially if the other spouse is fabricating the abuse. However, these situations are rare.

Factors Courts Consider When Deciding Custody

During all custody decisions made by a court, the ultimate goal is to protect the health and well-being of the children. Therefore, a conviction of domestic violence will certainly affect the court’s mind. Even if a spouse has been charged and convicted of domestic violence against an adult partner and not a child, the spouse will still lose custody. Widely documented research indicates that an adult who abuses other adults is more likely to abuse kids. Courts know this and take this matter very seriously.

This does not mean that a divorcing spouse can allege domestic abuse and will always win a custody battle. Without any supporting documentation or evidence, the court may consider the claim as opinion instead of fact. Knowing this, a spouse who has been the victim of domestic violence should take photographs, keep threatening texts and voicemails, and tell friends about the abuse. They should also contact law enforcement during or after an altercation. That way, the spouse has proof of the allegations.

Romantic Partners and Domestic Violence

Divorced parents sometimes cohabitate with a new spouse or remarry. In these situations, the new romantic partner may have a record of domestic violence or may be suspected of committing violence against an ex-spouse or children. Courts that are made aware of this type of situation may alter a prior custody decision.

Is It Possible to Regain Custody After Domestic Violence Allegations?

A parent who loses sole or joint custody because of a presumption of domestic violence has some recourse, depending on the circumstances. By going through therapy, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or following court-ordered treatment programs, the spouse may provide enough supporting evidence to show that he or she is no longer a threat. Though this might not be enough to win joint custody, it could make spending time with their children a possibility.

Reporting Suspected Domestic Violence

If a court awards joint or shared custody, one parent may suspect the other of domestic violence against the child. At that point, the concerned parent should speak with an attorney well-versed in the matters of family law. A custody decision can be modified if evidence proves that a child may be living in an unsafe environment.

Baltimore County Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Handle Custody Cases That Involve Domestic Violence

Are you a parent going through a divorce that involves domestic abuse allegations or convictions? If so, it is crucial to meet with one of our Baltimore County child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC today. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we help families throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.

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