Bastarrika, Soto, Gonzalez & Somohano, L.L.P.

How do claims of domestic violence impact child custody?

There are a variety of different of reasons why a couple in New Jersey might choose to end their marriage. In fact, allegations of domestic violence are one reason why many people choose to seek a divorce. Because family courts are dedicated to protecting the best interests of children, they may rule conservatively in child custody cases that include claims of domestic abuse.

Courts are often tasked with determining custody arrangements. While most courts recognize the importance of having both parents involved in a child's life, allegations of domestic violence require special considerations and could ultimately impact a custody arrangement. Judges will examine a variety of different issues before making a decision, including whether the alleged abuse was directed at the child or affected the child, whether there is a continued threat to the child or other parent, physical evidence of the abuse, pending criminal charges as a result or police documentation of the abuse, among other issues.

In addition to their effect on child custody, allegations of abuse could also determine whether and how much access the accused parent has to the child. For example, visitation rights could be revoked, supervised visitation could be ordered or a restraining order could be put in place. The parent could also be ordered to undergo domestic violence counseling, take parenting and/or anger management classes.

When a romantic relationship comes to an end, parents in New Jersey and across the country may find themselves in a position where they must fight to protect the best interests of their children. For some parents, this involves protecting their children from domestic violence while for others it may involve fighting to preserve their relationship and access to their children following such accusations. Both sets of parents likely want an attorney with experience with family law and child custody cases on their side to ensure that the court hears all of the relevant information in their cases.

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