Effects of Domestic Violence on Child Custody

Child custody may be an issue that you and your ex-spouse are arguing about. You may want to spend more time with your kids or may be concerned about the other spouse harming your children. Domestic violence is a growing issue, especially in the past few months, with children staying home more often due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Unfortunately, many parents are stressed out right now. They are having to work and take care of their children. They are also having to supervise their distance learning right now, which can be very frustrating. Some parents have trouble dealing with their negative feelings and as a result, they take their frustrations out on their children.

This can lead to domestic violence charges against a parent. If the parents are divorced or otherwise no longer living together, this can affect the parent’s child custody or visitation agreements. The other parent could file a child custody modification and request more custody or even sole custody in extreme circumstances.

What is Domestic Violence?

Under Maryland Code, Family Law § 4-501, domestic violence refers to abuse occurring between current or former spouses, those who are currently or formerly involved in a relationship and those who have children in common. Abuse refers to assault, rape, stalking, false imprisonment, kidnapping or any other act that causes serious bodily harm. Abuse may also include abuse of a child by a parent. You would be able to file criminal charges if you have reason to believe that the other parent abused your child. These charges would likely impact child custody and other elements.

The Child’s Best Interests

A judge will keep a child’s best interests in mind when making a decision about child custody. However, there are many factors involved in determining best interests, and domestic violence just one of them. Therefore, it is still possible for a judge to grant child custody to a parent accused of domestic violence. Even if the abuser is not granted custody, they will usually receive some form of visitation, or parenting time because judges believe children should have a relationship with both parents.

However, you can try to prove to the judge that the child’s physical or emotional health would be in danger if the abusive parent were to be granted custody or visitation. The judge may not deny the parent visitation altogether, but he or she may limit parenting time or require that it be supervised by a third party, such as a family member or social worker.

Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today

Child custody can be a contentious issue, especially if domestic violence is involved. Make sure you protect your custody rights as well as the health of your children.

The Columbia divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help you with your case. Our compassionate and dedicated team can help you with your case and get you a favorable outcome. We have two offices to serve you. Schedule a free consultation by filling out the online form or calling (410) 774-5987.


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