Domestic Violence and Child Custody
Courts in New Jersey, and anywhere else in the US, take the subject of domestic violence very seriously, especially if there are children involved. The rate of domestic violence has gone down over the years but it is still present in many households, and continues to be one of the main factors leading to divorce.
Screaming, yelling, false accusations, and violent behavior all contribute to a highly toxic environment, and it is the duty of the state to protect the child or children that are victims of such an environment. Even if the conflict is only between the parents, being exposed to an abusive or violent environment lessens a child’s chances of leading a healthy and happy life in their later years. As such, divorce courts are given the right to highly modify child custody and visitation rights of parents any time domestic violence is involved.
How Domestic Violence Affects Children
Children who grow up in houses with recurrent domestic violence and abuse of any kind tend to experience higher rates of psychological issues, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and in many cases, grow up to engage in criminal activities and drug abuse.
These children are also more than likely to repeat the same pattern later on in their adult life, depending on the severity of the day-to-day disturbances encountered by them. These things can pose a serious threat to the well-being of the child as well as to the quality of living in our society. Hence, it is important for strict action to be taken in court decisions in order to get the child out of the negative environment.
Child Custody and Visitation Decisions Involving Domestic Violence
In many child custody disputes, allegations of domestic violence by a parent are a commonly abused negotiating tactic, and it is important to have legitimate evidence to back up claims. Many times, the accusations are simply an attempt to look better than the other parent. If a parent is found to be lying about the alleged domestic violence of their spouse, it can very negatively impact their child custody and visitation rights moving forward.
In cases where there is legitimate evidence of abuse of any kind between the parents or concerning the child, a judge will consider the following factors when making their decision regarding child custody and visitation rights:
- Were these occurrences of domestic violence aimed at the child or children?
- Is the accused parent still a threat to the other parent or the child?
- Does the accused have a criminal status or a criminal case against them?
- How often did the instances of domestic violence occur?
- Bruises, wounds, photographs, any physical evidence
- Witnesses to the incidents, or police reports
When it comes to child custody and visitation of a parent proven to have committed acts of domestic violence, it is entirely up to the court of law to decide whether the abusive parent should even have access to visitation rights or not. The judge may order the parent to participate in domestic violence counseling, or take anger management classes or parenting classes in order to help them become a more fit and stable parent for the child.
However, if the court deems the abusive parent to be a threat to the health or safety of the child, it has complete authority to revoke visitation rights, either long-term or provisionally. Depending on the severity of the danger, the court may even issue a restraining order.
Contact a Passaic County Child Custody and Domestic Violence Attorney Today
At The Law Office of The Montanari Law Group, our family law attorneys have extensive experience handling child custody and domestic violence issues for clients across Wayne, Clifton, Woodland Park, and the greater Passaic County area.
We understand how important a child’s future is to a parent, and how that importance can often complicate child custody and visitation negotiations. With a deep understanding and extensive experience in the areas of child custody law as well as domestic violence law, our attorneys our ready to provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and effective legal advice and services for clients in even the most difficult of situations.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our family law team today regarding your child custody or domestic violence issue, please contact us online or through our Little Falls office at 888.877.7985.