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How Does Being Convicted of Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody?


When it comes to child custody battles, one factor that weighs heavily on the court's decision is the safety and well-being of the child. If you have been convicted of domestic violence, it is crucial to understand how this can affect your chances of obtaining custody or visitation rights. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of domestic violence convictions on child custody and provide valuable insights to help you navigate this complex situation.

Impact on Custody Determination:

A conviction for domestic violence undoubtedly influences the court's decisions regarding child custody. The primary concern of any court is the safety and welfare of the children. A parent's history of violence raises immediate red flags, as the court strives to create an environment free from harm. Courts must weigh the gravity of the conviction, considering factors such as the severity of the violence, the frequency of incidents, and the potential for reoccurrence.

  1. Legal Presumptions: In many jurisdictions, a conviction for domestic violence creates a legal presumption that the perpetrator poses a danger to the children. This shifts the burden of proof onto the convicted parent to demonstrate that they have taken steps to rehabilitate and ensure the children's safety.

  2. Supervised Visitation: In cases where a parent has a history of violence, the court may grant supervised visitation. This arrangement ensures that the parent can maintain a relationship with their children under the watchful eye of a neutral third party, minimizing the risk of harm.

  3. Loss of Custodial Rights: In severe cases, a conviction for domestic violence can result in the loss of custodial rights altogether. The court may determine that the safety of the children is best served by awarding sole custody to the non-offending parent, with limited or no contact with the convicted parent.

  4. Rehabilitation Efforts: Parents convicted of domestic violence can take proactive steps to demonstrate their commitment to change. Completing court-mandated anger management programs, attending therapy, and consistently complying with restraining orders can help rebuild trust and credibility with the court.

Child-Centric Approach:

The overarching principle guiding custody decisions is the best interests of the child. While a parent's conviction is a crucial factor, courts also consider additional elements that contribute to a child's well-being.

  1. Parent-Child Relationship: Courts assess the quality of the parent-child relationship. If a parent with a history of domestic violence has shown genuine efforts to change and build a healthy relationship with their child, the court might consider granting some form of custody, often with strict conditions.

  2. Child's Wishes: In cases where the child is of a suitable age, their preferences may be taken into account. However, the court's primary focus remains on safety, and the child's desires will only be considered within the framework of their overall well-being.

At The Locke Law Group, we understand the complexities surrounding child custody cases involving domestic violence. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you navigate through this challenging time.