What impact do claims of domestic violence have on custody cases?

On Behalf of The Law Offices of Ronda A. Middleton |

After years of living together and sharing the most stressful moments life has to offer, you know what your spouse is capable of better than anyone else. You may have been on the receiving side of your temper more than once, which may be while you are ready to file for divorce.

Your insider perspective may make you nervous about moving forward despite your desire for safety and freedom. You may worry that shared custody arrangements could put your children at unnecessary risk.

It is normal and admirable to worry about your children when in a dangerous situation and contemplating divorce. If you understand how the California family courts handle allegations of domestic violence, you may feel more comfortable moving forward with the end of your marriage.

The courts will protect the children if you have documentation

The California family courts have a clear directive when they must make custody decisions. State law requires that family law judges put what is best for the children first. For most families, the best interests of the children will necessitate a shared custody arrangement so that they maintain their bond with both parents.

However, there are situations in which the courts agree that sole custody is preferable. A significant history of domestic violence is one of them. You will need evidence corroborating your claims of domestic violence, as otherwise your ex can claim you have fabricated the allegations as a way to alienate them from the children.

A journal detailing your experiences, photographs of injuries, police reports and medical records can all help you show the courts that your ex has violent tendencies. They may adjust their custody decisions to reflect that knowledge.

Any abuse can affect the children

Your ex does not need to turn their violent temper against your children for a judge to limit their time with or control over the children. Abuse that occurs in front of the children can do psychological damage, and a judge may consider abuse aimed at you rather than the children when making major custody decisions.

In cases where there have been threats or significant physical injuries, you may be able to get an order from the courts helping protect you and limiting how much access your ex has to you and the children. Getting the right support will make divorcing in a domestic violence scenario and securing appropriate custody arrangements easier.

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