Child Custody Where Domestic Violence is Present

 Child Custody Lawyer

For someone who has experienced domestic violence, the emotional trauma from the relationship can have a lasting impact. Breaking away from an abusive relationship can feel nearly impossible for a survivor. When there are children involved, the process of separating can feel downright impossible. Ending a relationship may cause you to not only be fearful for your own personal safety, but for your child’s. Child custody situations are particularly delicate when domestic violence is present. For those who have suffered at the hands of an abuser, acquiring the representation of an attorney will be key to keeping the needs of both you and your child at the forefront.

Understanding Domestic Violence

Families who have suffered from domestic violence can have a devastating impact on overall health, safety and wellbeing. Relationships in which domestic violence is present can escalate over time. When children are involved, not only may they be witness to the abuse, they may also fall victim to it, or, be caught in the crossfires. Domestic violence stems far beyond physical abuse. Characteristics can include:

  • Intimidation
  • Control
  • Sexual Violence
  • Physical Violence
  • Financial Control

Essentially, domestic violence aims at taking complete control over a person’s life. Perhaps the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is the period in which they end the relationship. Children can be an innocent casualty. A victim may worry for the safety, and what the future may hold, especially when faced with child custody complications.

Domestic Violence Allegations

When a child has been witness to violence in the home, domestic violence is always an important topic to consider and address when facing child custody. When domestic violence is present, it will be key to work with a skilled attorney throughout the process. They can help to prove that domestic violence is present and has had an impact on the safety and wellbeing of the children. When it comes to allegations of domestic violence in relation to child custody, the courts are likely to consider the following:

  • Police reports
  • Whether the violence posed a risk to the child
  • Whether the child was affected by the violence or harmed as a result
  • Any criminal charges that have resulted from domestic violence
  • Photographic or video evidence proving the abuse

Presenting evidence to the courts that help prove that domestic violence has been present in the home will likely play a role when it comes to custody determinations.

The Impact on Child Custody Situations

With an attorney by your side who has experience with situations of this nature, domestic violence can have an impact on the abuser’s access to the child. Not only can their ability to obtain custody hang in the balance, visitation may be impacted as well. When domestic violence is present, and has had a clear impact on the child, the courts may decide to:

  • Require supervised visitation
  • Issue a protection order
  • Change in visitation
  • Put a halt to the parent’s visitations

The idea of no longer being able to have your child with you full time can be an incredibly difficult adjustment. For someone who has been abused by their child’s parent, the thought of sharing custody can be terrifying. A Bloomington family lawyer can not only provide you with legal representation, they can help you to know your rights, protect your interests and support you through the rollercoaster of emotions you are sure to experience.  



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into family law and child custody issues involving domestic violence.

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