Domestic violence affects child custody in many ways. A difficult subject to broach, domestic violence is an insidious, awful thing that profoundly affects the lives of everyone involved. If you or your children are survivors of domestic abuse, it can be difficult to know how to go on, who to turn to, or what to do. The legal system exists to work in your favor, and when it comes to domestic violence and custody, it is paramount that you and your children are safe and removed from that situation.
Domestic violence tears lives apart. Women especially are prone to experience sexual or physical violence, typically caused by someone in their lives. Domestic abuse affects women, children, and their families. The personal and social effects also have a long-reaching influence on custody. Emotional trauma, psychological trauma, and physical health issues and injuries can all stem from domestic violence, which is why it’s in the best interest of you and your children to remove yourselves from the perpetrator. Custody is your right, and beneficial for your children.
Here’s How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody
The prevalence of domestic violence in the United States is alarming, and the impact of domestic violence on your case varies state by state. A child witnessing domestic violence between their parents experiences the strongest risk factor in the transmission of violent behavior from one generation to the next. Family law judges take domestic abuse charges very seriously. In any divorce proceeding, domestic abuse will strongly impact the judge’s decision over child custody and visitation.
Your Children Matter Most
Protecting children from a domestic violence situation is the immediate pursuit of any family law attorney. When a judge finds out about domestic violence in a case, this account is taken seriously, and the judge will take into account the relationship with the other parent. Children always suffer when one parent abuses another, and in any case, where one parent has abused the other seriously or repeatedly, the judge would not give them custody. Anything to the contrary must have strict and explicit reasoning in writing.
Most states will allow the accused to rebut the assumption of domestic violence. This requires the presenting of evidence, including showing evidence that the accused is not a threat to their partner or child. When domestic violence is a serious issue, some parents might fabricate domestic violence allegations in order to gain an advantage in custody proceedings. It is important to contest allegations if the accused feels they were wrong, and it is critical you retain a family law attorney.
In any case, your attorney works first and foremost to make sure you and your children are safe, especially if you are the victim of acts of violence. This could mean helping you to find a place to stay for a short period of time or working with a judge to gain a working emergency order that bars your spouse access to your home. If your children aren’t safe then you aren’t safe, and your family law attorney as well as the judge will work with you on this. As far as the legal consequences for the actions of your spouse, your attorney may seek an order from the judge to restrict visitation to your children and create a restraining order on your behalf. Temporary restraining orders can be in effect for up to four weeks.
Your Family Attorney Is On Your Side
What is most important in this and any situation is the well-being of your children. One consequence of your child witnessing family or home violence is you might see a change in their behavior. Even if you believe your child did not witness the violence or events surrounding it, children are more aware than many of us take them for. The alternative is that not only is your child aware but is forced to keep the abuse to themselves. The psychological effects of keeping such a secret can often be severe. Too often children are victimized in the course of domestic violence in some way.
The long-term negative consequences of your child being exposed to family violence include the possibility that your child might see violence as a reasonable outlet for anger or frustration. Control and power are often gained through domestic violence, and this might increase the likelihood of your child resorting to this sort of behavior is a serious concern to be aware of.
Your family law attorney will educate you on this, and your judge will look closely at your child’s role in these unfortunate circumstances. If your child cannot answer the questions for themselves, it’s best for you and your family attorney to come up with the answers. Has your child witnessed violence in the home? Have they been the direct victim? Have they witnessed violent acts or seen their effects? Any harm on your child will be taken into account by the judge and is necessary for your family attorney to know.
Ultimately, when it comes to custody cases that do not settle easily, domestic violence ranks among the highest. The effects of domestic violence will persist throughout the case. Heightened stress, anxiety, and emotional trauma in the atmosphere of these cases make them difficult to handle.
Family law attorneys see domestic violence as a tool used by abusive, controlling spouses. These are the sorts of partners who demand a degree of control over their families, and the attorneys want to work with you to see divorce, gain rightful custody, change custody orders and find the best outcome for you and your children. Even removed from the situation, an abusive spouse will take every chance to exert some control. Allow your family law attorney to work on your behalf and reduce the stress of the situation while moving toward the best possible outcome.
Jarrod Hays is the founder of Skyview Law, a Family law firm in Richland. He is licensed to practice law in Washington State and the Federal Court in the Western District of Washington. Jarrod is rated as one of the 10 Best Attorneys under 40 for Client Satisfaction in Washington for 2019. www.skyviewlaw.com