How A History And Evidence Of Domestic Violence Can Affect Child Custody Determinations

Often, it is in a child’s best interest to have regular contact with their parents. Also, both parents and kids shouldn’t be victims of harm and threats by an abusive partner. So, if one parent abuses the other, how would a protection order impact child custody? While courts encourage parents to maintain positive and strong relationships with their children, things can become different when domestic violence is involved. In Utah, domestic violence can impact child custody, whether or not this violence is directed at a child. If you are a victim of an abusive spouse and seeking child custody, click here to find a good attorney to represent you. 

Impacts of Protective and Restraining Orders on Child Custody

A restraining order stops a party from taking action. Meanwhile, a protective order protects the safety of the individual who has it. A violation of a protective order can lead to jail time. To get a protective order, you must convince the court it’s necessary. You may need to present evidence of abuse such as testimony from witnesses, medical records, and police records. If you are able to get a protective order against your child’s other parent, this order can be used as evidence of domestic violence in custody cases. Thus, the court will consider domestic violence when determining what’s best for your child. 

Domestic Violence and Child Custody

Domestic violence evidence impacts legal and physical custody differently. Courts presume that having parents making important decisions for their child is in the latter’s best interest. But this presumption can be overcome if a domestic violence victim has a protective order against the abuser. Thus, the abused may be granted sole custody of the child. The parent who is accused of domestic abuse or violence may not be allowed to make major decisions in the life of their child. Both legal and physical custody is often granted to the spouse who has obtained a protective order against their spouse. 

However, the subject of the protective order may still be granted parental time. Depending on the situation, the court may grant the abusive spouse supervised visitation or more limited parental time, or deny custody altogether. While domestic violence evidence is a significant factor in custody determinations, family courts should consider all related factors. If the court thinks that it’s in the best interest of the child to have a continuous relationship with the subject of the protective order, they will facilitate the relationship. 

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