Serious issues may arise with child custody after abuse takes place
Often the state tends to leave much of the custodial decisions regarding custody up to the concerned parents, unless there’s abuse, or else other potentially harmful behaviour exhibited by your spouse. If your husband is abusive, either towards you or the kids, or if your husband behaves in a negligent manner or otherwise towards the kids, then you should have documented proof to help protect your child custody interests.
Here are some of the more common child abuse scenarios that may raise issues for you as a mother or a father seeking child custody:
Physical abuse is one of the most common reasons why the courts discourage joint custody arrangements and may even mean that a parent is not granted sole or joint child custody unless the allegations are proven. This can happen in any relationship, whether it’s a romantic relationship or one between extended family, friends, or acquaintances. If you suspect your partner of being abusive (or even just a “petty” abuser-that is, someone who abuses his or her own kids), it is best not to put your children in the middle. Always seek out help from a trained attorney-they will be able to tell you whether your fears are justified.
Restraining orders against a person can be applied for a variety of reasons, including child abuse. A restraining order may bar a parent from visitation, prevent a parent from getting their own children’s custody, restrict where a parent can take their child, or require that the abuser to give up any firearms they may have. In the case of child abuse, a judge is likely to issue a permanent restraining order, which means the abuser cannot come near your kids, and cannot give any contact with them. It’s important to note that even if a restraining order has been lifted or dismissed by a court, it doesn’t mean the abuser doesn’t have a final say in how your children are raised.
Some people falsely believe that they will never be able to win child custody cases after a spouse or parent has been accused of domestic violence or child neglect. The truth is, if it’s found that abuse or neglect occurred, a judge may still make finding the parent liable extremely difficult. “Lack of negligence” is an important factor, but courts have always been reluctant to hold parents responsible for what would seem like minor abuse-even if the parents had told anyone at all about the abuse-including the police, the school, and the child’s other teachers. In fact, it’s very common for the judge to issue a temporary restraining order against the suspected abuser while the investigation is ongoing. Once the allegations have been investigated and the evidence found to be insufficient to prove the abuse, the judge may issue a permanent order to protect the child.
One of the problems that experts find with child custody cases where the alleged parental kidnapping
Often, there isn’t enough evidence to show that the alleged parent caused physical harm on the child. For this reason, courts don’t require that parents prove that their alleged actions have caused the emotional harm to the child; they only need to show that they acted in concert with another party. If a parent believes their child has suffered emotional harm from a parent who has engaged in child neglect, but that evidence was not found, it’s likely that the parent will be able to file a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing that the evidence was obtained in an improper manner. If this motion to suppress is successful, it can help prevent the jury from ever having the opportunity to be shown the evidence and decide the case.
Even when there is evidence of child abuse or neglect occurring, courts usually prefer to avoid awarding full child custody unless there is undeniable proof that the other parent was the main caregiver and the abuse or neglect occurred while the child was living with them. Unless there are obvious signs of physical or sexual abuse, courts tend to prefer joint custody for children where one of the parents actively abuses the child. For instance, if the child has frequent nightmares or cries when you are trying to get him or her to do something, courts may prefer to award you and your ex-spouse equal time with the child so that they can work through any problems. However, if there are signs of child neglect or abuse, a judge will more than likely award joint legal custody, especially if it is in the best interest of the child.