All child custody decisions must be made in the best interests of the child. When a parent is accused of domestic violence, the court must consider whether parenting time or visitation would be safe for the child as part of determining what is in the best interest of the child.
Child Custody Options
Not every child who has been abused or who has witnessed abuse will have the same child custody arrangement. Depending on the severity of the abuse, when the abuse occurred, and other factors, the court may decide to:
- Allow parenting time. If the court determines that the child is not in danger, parenting time may be awarded.
- Allow supervised visitation. If the court has concerns about the child’s safety, the court may only allow visitation with another designated adult in attendance.
- Terminate parental rights. In the most severe cases of abuse, such as if the child was sexually abused or seriously injured by a parent, the court may terminate parental rights entirely.
The court may consider the following factors when deciding a child custody case that involves allegations of domestic violence:
- Whether a parent has been convicted of a crime and the sentence for that crime
- Whether a protective order or restraining order is in effect
- The severity of the alleged abuse
- The injury or damage that was done by the abuse
- How long ago the abuse occurred
- How often the abuse occurred
- Whether the alleged abusive parent took any steps, such as counseling, to prevent future abuse
- The age of the alleged victim
What’s in Your Child’s Best Interest?
Whether you are seeking to protect your child from an abusive parent or you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, you need to take action to protect your child’s rights. You want what is best for your child, and you need to convince the court of the parenting plan, visitation schedule, or termination of parental rights that is in your child’s best interests.
Contact the experienced divorce and child custody attorneys at Luna Law Firm today to learn more about your options and the steps you can take to make sure your child is safe from an abusive parent or maintains a relationship with a parent who is wrongfully accused of domestic violence.