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Domestic violence and child custody decisions

When you and your child's other parent share custody, you may have reasons to believe that your co-parent acts violently toward your child during their time together. Whether this is because of physical evidence, seeing the violence take place, or hearing about it from your child, it is obviously of the utmost importance that you keep your child safe. However, if your child's other parent enjoys court-ordered time with the child, you may feel as though you have few options to maintain your child's safety and still abide by the terms of the custody order.

This is an infuriating position for any parent. However, the courts understand that it is less important to protect the privileges of a parent than to protect the well-being of a child.

Before you petition the court to amend a custody order to remove the child from the alleged abuser's home, be sure that you have all the facts necessary to make a compelling case for doing so. If, for instance, you approach the court simply because your child mentions that some form of abuse took place and you have no other evidence to offer to back up the claim, you may seriously endanger the freedom and well-being of an innocent person, even if it is a person that you do not particularly like.

To be sure, protecting a child's safety is always a top priority for a parent, including situations where a parent is suffering abuse. If you face any sort of abuse or suspect that your child faces abuse, you can speak with an experienced family law attorney to understand the legal options you have available and create a strong strategy to protect your child and yourself from domestic violence.

Source: FindLaw, "Does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody?," accessed April 20, 2018

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