How do domestic violence and abuse affect child custody and support?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2022 | Family Law

In an uncontested or no-fault divorce, separating parents can complete the divorce process in as little as 60 days and without disclosing marital misconduct to the courts.

However, when safety is a concern because of domestic violence or other abuse considerations, the divorce process can enter a more complicated territory. Spousal abuse is a crime. Should potential unlawful marital misconduct come to light before or during divorce proceedings, it will have an impact on how the courts determine custody and safety measures for the children.

The child’s best interests

Even in perfectly amicable divorce cases, a judge examines parental fitness, the child’s living conditions, the child’s preferences and each parent’s history with the children to determine custody. When domestic violence or abuse becomes a factor in a divorce case, the courts will not determine a custody arrangement without investigating the allegations.

In these instances, the courts may limit a parent’s visitation or require supervised visits with the children. The courts may also order parents to perform exchanges between households in a safe and public place to ensure a conflict-free transition for the children.

Protective orders

When parents fear for their own safety and the safety of their children, they may seek additional protective orders throughout the divorce process. Parents can request a temporary restraining order to prevent the other from contacting or seeing them for a certain duration of time.

On their own, spousal abuse charges may not impact alimony or child support orders. However, domestic violence and abuse can negatively impact one parent’s ability to provide for themselves and their children both during and after the marriage. In these cases, a judge will consider the impact of the abuse and award support according to the needs of the family.