Effects of Domestic Violence on Phoenix Child Custody

The sad fact is that many victims of domestic violence do not recognize it for what it is. They think that it is normal that their mothers lock them up in a closet for days on end as punishment, or their husbands to hit them for burning dinner. Domestic violence victims are also inured to verbal and emotional abuse because it has been going on for as long as they can remember, but this can have far-reaching consequences in the way they think and live. Many become domestic abusers as well because they think it is the way it should be.

It is often only when a third party sees the marks or recognizes the signs of domestic violence and reports it that it comes out and becomes documented. Of course, the victim may eventually realize the abuse and then reports it. In any case, when divorce is petitioned in Arizona and the issue of child custody comes out, documented domestic violence has a significant effect on the court’s ruling.

Divorce court judges are tasked to determine where the best interests of a child lie. To do this, they look at a number of factors, two of which involves domestic violence. What the court would like to know is that if there is indeed evidence of sustained abuse of the parent or child, and the extent of the domestic violence. In a contentious divorce, one parent may allege domestic violence where none exists to win custody, and this will come out in an investigation and count against the accusing parent.

When either parent has actually been convicted of child abuse or domestic violence, there is a good chance that the court will decide against granting at least physical custody of the child and may even rescind visitation rights for the convicted parent if the pattern of abuse is severe and extensive. This is to protect the abused parent and/or child from further violence.

But a conviction alone is not enough for the court to remove the parental rights of the convicted parent if he or she successfully defeats the “rebuttable presumption” that the child’s best interests is served by doing so. A Houston divorce lawyer can best explain how this legal assumption can be upheld or defeated.

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Larry Benneth+