How Can Domestic Violence Affect a Child Custody Agreement?
Domestic violence, and the commonly resulting legal actions of temporary restraining orders and final restraining orders, can be one of the most trying, stressful, and emotionally difficult situations for any family to face.
In the case of the abused party, securing protection for themselves and/or their children is of extreme importance. On the other hand, if a parent has been falsely accused of domestic violence, the ramifications and legal consequences can be devastating to their personal lives and legal freedoms, and even to their relationship with their children as well.
While this article focuses on how domestic violence can affect a child custody settlement or agreement, if you wish to learn more about domestic violence and restraining orders in general, please view our domestic violence page or our temporary restraining order page.
Domestic Violence Incidents and Child Custody in Morris County NJ
If a parent is proven to have committed any act of domestic violence (usually through a Final Restraining Order hearing) against their spouse, a former spouse, a co-parent, or even their children themselves, Morris County family law courts have the authority to either limit the abusive parents visitation rights with their children, or in more extreme cases, deny their visitation rights entirely.
When deciding how the incident of domestic violence in question will affect an existing child custody agreement, family court judge’s will consider the following factors:
- Was the incident(s) of domestic violence directed towards the parent, the children, or both?
- Does the violent or abusive parent still pose a threat to the other parent or their children?
- Does the violent or abusive parent have a criminal record, or a pending criminal case against them?
- How many times did the acts of violence or abuse occur?
- What injuries occurred due to the acts of domestic violence or abuse?
- The testimony of any police officers involved, and other concerned parties
Based upon these findings, a judge may order the violent or abusive parent to seek therapy, attend anger management courses, or attend courses learning to become a more fit parent. Additionally, the judge may also temporarily limit the abusive parents child custody rights pending their rehabilitation, or in more extreme cases, permanently revoke that parent’s child custody and visitation rights.
As you can see, family court judges will consider a variety of factors, and have a variety of potential actions at their disposal when deciding exactly how and when a child custody agreement should be modified based on acts of domestic violence by one parent or the other. While it is highly recommended that you speak with our experienced Morris County family law attorneys when facing either of these issues, when they two are linked, it is that much more important still.
False Accusation of Domestic Violence and Child Custody in Morris County NJ
On the other hand, if one parent is found to have made false accusations of domestic violence against another parent, family law courts will frown heavily upon such an action, and as a result may take legal action to limit or deny the child custody rights of the accusing parent.
Obviously, a person who would accuse their spouse or former spouse of domestic violence simply to harm them, or limit their access to their children may not be the most fit or stable of parents. Since any legal decision involving children is based upon those children’s best interests, and a parent who would lie about such a serious issue as domestic violence is is not likely to properly protect their children’s best interests, family law courts will often take action to reduce or deny that parent’s child custody and visitation rights.
Contact Our Morris County Domestic Violence and Child Custody Attorneys Today
Due to the fact that any action taken by the courts will be based upon the results of a domestic violence final restraining order hearing, it is critical that any parent involved in a domestic violence dispute retain experienced legal representation during such a crucial hearing.
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience handling domestic violence and restraining order matters, as well as experience handling child custody issues of all kinds for parents in towns across Morris County, including Chester, Chatham, Mendham, Madison, Morris Township, and Morristown.
By practicing exclusively family and divorce law, our firm can focus on providing each of our clients with the knowledgeable, effective, and attentive legal service that they need and deserve in matters so critical to their legal, financial, and parental futures.
To speak with our family law team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding a domestic violence dispute, a restraining order, or any divorce matter including a child custody concern, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 828-0829.