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How do domestic violence allegations affect child custody?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2022 | Domestic Violence |

There are many considerations that the court will assess in a California child custody case. One of the most contentious and challenging is if there are allegations of domestic violence or legal determination that domestic violence did occur in the past. Whether it is the victim or the perpetrator, this could be a crucial part of a custody case. No matter the perspective, it is imperative to have professional assistance to address the problems that can arise in this type of case.

Child custody, domestic violence and the state family code 3044

In California, the key in a child custody case is the best interests of the child. When there is potential danger and past abuse, this will play a major role in the outcome of the case. It does not necessarily mean the parent who has domestic abuse issues in the past will be denied custody or parenting time. There is a special law under family code 3044 that specifically addresses these situations.

There are two times when domestic violence will impact a child custody case. The first is if the person has been convicted in the previous five years and the victim was the other parent; a child or the child’s siblings; the current spouse or a person with whom they are in a relationship; or the person’s parent. The second is if the judge decided domestic violence occurred by, for example, granting a restraining order.

The person who committed domestic violence can still get custody, but the judge will assess the following: if it serves the child’s best interests; if there were other domestic violence incidents; whether the person adhered to the restraining order; if they took part in a one-year program for batterers; if they were required to take part in an alcohol or substance abuse program and did so; if they are on parole or probation and are following its requirements; and if they have a firearm or ammunition, violating a restraining order.

For complicated family law issues with domestic violence, help is critical

There is no doubt that domestic violence is a major negative on a person’s record, but it does not necessarily mean that child custody will automatically be denied because of it. On the other side of the coin, the parent who was abused or is concerned about the child’s safety can reference the past incidents as part of the proceeding.

Disputes occur regularly in a marriage. If it escalates to domestic abuse, it is worrisome when dealing with child custody. This area of the law is complex and sensitive. The child should take precedence and both parents need to be protected with experienced representation regardless of the situation.



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