Family law requires judges to base custody decisions solely on the best interests of the child, so accusations of domestic violence are taken very seriously. While a parent who has been accused of domestic violence won’t automatically lose their rights to legal and physical custody, judges are typically hesitant to put a child in a potentially dangerous situation. Below are a few ways domestic abuse allegations may impact your case.
Child Custody & Domestic Violence
Allegations of Domestic Violence
To affect child custody decisions, it isn’t necessary for a defendant to be convicted in criminal court. In fact, the judge will take these allegations into consideration even if charges were never filed or the victim decided not to report the abuse to the police. Family law courts use much looser standards of evidence than criminal trials, so the judge only has to be convinced by a preponderance of the evidence that violence occurred in the home.
Severity of the Allegations
A single incident of domestic violence directed against someone other than the child may not prevent a parent from receiving some physical custody rights. However, they likely will not receive sole custody, especially if they were convicted of a crime as a result. However, patterns of violence or especially severe acts will likely mean that they may have only limited interactions with their children, often under court supervision.
Outcomes of Child Custody Cases
Whenever possible, courts attempt to preserve meaningful relationships between parents and their children, so the judge may order a shared custody arrangement, along with therapy or counseling programs. For habitually abusive parents, the court may only allow supervised visitation, in the presence of another adult appointed by the court. However, if they decide it’s in the best interests of the child, the judge may actually terminate the abusive individual’s parental rights entirely.
The Fulcher Law Firm is a law firm conveniently located in the heart of Albemarle, North Carolina. Our firm has over 18 years of experience, and we are proud to serve the residents and businesses of Stanly County and Montgomery County. We help people in a wide range of areas such as personal injury cases, family law matters such as divorce, alimony, child custody and support issues as well as criminal law. Visit us online to see how we can help with your child support case, follow our Twitter for more legal tips, and call (704) 984-6060 now to schedule a family law consultation.