How domestic violence impacts child custody

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2021 | Child Custody, Domestic Violence |

Some divorces in New Hampshire involve domestic violence allegations, and violent incidents may be the reason in many of these cases. When children are involved in a divorce where domestic violence is an issue, child custody decisions are very complicated.

Divorcing parents accused of abuse may lose custody

Even if violent incidents did not involve the children, judges are very hesitant to award custody to a parent who is accused of domestic violence in divorce proceedings. Family courts are obligated to consider the best interests of the child, and judges assume that a child would be in danger around a violent parent.

If a child was a witness to the alleged abuse, this fact will be important to the judge. The judge will also consider the frequency and severity of the violent incidents. If a judge determines that the accused parent poses a threat to their child or the other parent, the accused parent may lose both custody and visitation rights.

The court will require the accusing parent to show evidence

Many divorcing parents worry that their spouse will falsely accuse them of domestic violence as a means to gain full child custody. However, the accusing parent will have to show tangible evidence that domestic violence occurred, because the judge will not just take the parent’s word for it. Acceptable evidence may include:

  • Police reports
  • Criminal records
  • Photographs of injuries
  • Testimony from third parties

Domestic violence may alter an existing child custody order

Domestic violence sometimes occurs after a divorce is finalized and child custody decisions have already been made. In these cases, the accused parent’s custody or visitation rights can be revoked. The accused parent may only be allowed supervised visitation, and they could be ordered to attend anger management classes.