Are you in the midst of a divorce or
family law case that involves domestic violence? If your case involves children and there is a history of domestic violence, it's important that you learn how California handles child custody cases involving family violence.
To begin, there are two types of child custody in California: physical custody (who the child lives with), and legal custody (who makes important decisions about the child's education and healthcare etc.).
Defining Domestic Violence in California
Domestic violence refers to hitting, kicking, scaring, throwing objects, pulling hair, pushing, following, harassing, committing sexual assault, and threatening to do any of these things. It also includes actions that make someone afraid that they're going to get hurt.
Domestic violence can be verbal, written, or physical.
Your case will be treated as a domestic violence case if in the last 5 years, a parent was convicted of domestic violence against the other parent, or if any court has decided that one of the parents has committed domestic violence against the children or the other parent.
Otherwise, the judge will examine all of the evidence in a case and will make a decision from there. Generally, a judge is not supposed to give custody to the parent who committed domestic violence, however, a judge can give that parent visitation.
Can an abusive parent ever get custody?
Yes, there are exceptions. A judge can give custody to a parent who has committed domestic violence if:
- It is in the child's best interests;
- The parent has completed a 52-week batterer's program;
- Has not committed any further domestic violence;
- They have obeyed all court orders to complete a drug or alcohol abuse program, or a parenting class, and followed all terms of probation, parole, or a restraining order.
Contact a Los Angeles family lawyer from Claery & Green, LLP for legal representation during your child custody and/or divorce case.