How does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody Awards?

Proven domestic violence creates a presumption that the violent parent getting custody would be  detrimental to the best interest of the child.  Domestic violence means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, sexual assault, destruction of personal property, disturbing of the peace, threatening, striking, harassing, or placing in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or another.  

If both parents are perpetrators of domestic violence, then this presumption doesn’t apply, but if only one parent is guilty of domestic violence then that person must take steps to overcome the presumption.  Such steps include successful completion of a batterer’s treatment program, alcohol or drug abuse counseling, or parenting classes.  Also, the guilty parent must demonstrate to the court that his custody is in the best interests of the child.  If the parent is on probation or parole, the court will also consider if the terms of the probation or parole are being met.  Lastly, any continuing acts of domestic violence will be considered.  Contact Sagaria Law today to schedule an initial consultation so that you can learn more about how custody is affected by domestic violence.