Morris County and New Jersey child custody courts take domestic violence very seriously, especially when it comes to child custody and visitation agreements and modifications. As a family court's duty is always to first protect a child's best interests and needs, they understand the negative impact that abusive and violent behavior can have on a child's life, and their ability to live a healthy and happy life in the future.
While courts will always favor a child maintaining a relationship with both parents after a divorce, they are also given the authority to intervene and modify child custody and visitation agreements anytime domestic violence is involved.
Domestic Violence and Children
Children who grow up in households involving domestic violence and abuse can experience issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and often engage in criminal activities and drug abuse later in life.
These children are also likely to repeat a similar pattern of abuse and violence later in their life. Clearly, domestic violence poses a serious threat to the well-being of any child exposed to it, as well as the health of our society at large.
For these reasons, child custody courts are given the authority to take strict action when it comes to limiting a child's exposure to violence and abusive.
Morris County Child Custody Decisions Involving Domestic Violence or Abuse
In many Morris County child custody and visitation disputes, parents will accuse another parent of domestic violence in order to secure a more favorable resolution of their child custody dispute. However, if a parent is found to be lying about such allegations, the court may decide that a child's exposure to such a parent is harmful to the child's well-being, and as such their child custody ruling may be heavily against this parent. If your spouse has wrongly accused you of abuse or violence during your Morris County child custody negotiations, it is important that you retain experienced child custody legal counsel to help you prove your innocence to the courts, and secure the child custody agreement which is best for your children.
When there is legitimate evidence of domestic violence by a parent, either against the children or against another adult, it can greatly affect the judge's ruling when it comes to child custody and visitation. Depending on the circumstances, a judge may limit a parent's custody and visitation rights, or deny them entirely in the best interest of the child. Some of the factors a judge will consider when ruling on child custody when proven acts of domestic violence have occurred are:
- 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
As previously noted, family courts have ultimate discretion when deciding child custody when domestic violence has occurred. They may order the abusive parent to participate in domestic violence counseling, anger management classes, and parenting classes in order to become a more fit and stable parent for the child, and be accorded their parental rights when it comes to child custody and visitation. Courts also have the discretion to revoke custody or visitation privileges when domestic violence is involved, either provisionally or on a long-term basis. If the courts feel the abusive parent presents enough threat, they also may order a restraining order against that parent.
Contact a Morris County Child Custody and Domestic Violence Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Laufer, Dalena, Cadicina, Jensen & Bradley, our family law attorneys have extensive experience resolving child custody and domestic violence issues for family's across Chatham, Mendham, Chester, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area.
By practicing exclusively family and divorce law, our attorneys can provide our clients with highly informed, knowledgeable, experienced and effective legal counsel when it comes to any issue affecting a family, including divorce, child custody and visitation, and domestic violence.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with our family law team today regarding your unique issues and concerns, please contact us online or through our Morristown office at 973-975-4043.