The Impact Of Domestic Violence On Child Custody Cases
The child custody and visitation laws are separately dealt with in divorce lawsuits involving child abuse or domestic violence. It is the duty of the judge to establish whether there is a genuine case of any kind of physical or mental abuse or not. If yes, the court of law must follow specific rules and guidelines to reach a final verdict in terms of custody and visitation rights of the parents involved.
What is regarded as domestic violence by the State of California?
Many times, the victims of domestic abuse end up thinking that they have not been subjected to any violence unless it is causing any physical harm to them. However, the State of California defines the conditions wherein an act would be considered domestic violence by the court of law such as:
- Subjecting the victim to intentional bodily harm or injury
- Sexual assault
- Scaring the victim to have a constant fear of being physically harmed by the perpetrator
- Other actions that might drive a court to issue a restraining order against the acting individual such as physical assault, harassment, stalking or unwanted phone calls
How the court of law decides custody and visitation in cases of domestic violence?
While deciding upon the child custody and visitation rights of a parent, the court is obliged to ensure the best interests of the child at all costs. In the event of a domestic violence being involved in a divorce lawsuit, the judge has the right to limit or block contacts of the child with the abusive parent. Evidence of domestic violence reported by law enforcement, social welfare agencies, child protective services and medical facilities would be acceptable as substantial proof of abuse and will be held against the defendant.
Since the court is obliged to ensure the child’s best interests at all times, exposing him to any kind of domestic violence will be against the policy of his protection. In such cases, the judge might either order supervised visitation for the abusive parent or completely bar overnight visits. In case a protective order has been issued, the judge might stipulate pre determined conditions for the visitation or even entirely deny it. In cases involving extreme abuse, the court may go to the lengths of ordering a permanent and complete termination of the parental rights of the abusive individual.
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