The term domestic violence covers a range of behaviors including:
- Threats of physical harm
- Physical or sexual abuse
If you have been a victim of domestic violence you have legal options available to protect you and your children. Further, if you are pursuing a divorce, disclosing any facts relative to domestic violence to your attorney is essential to your case. By disclosing such information, it enables the courts to effectively evaluate your situation and act in your family's best interests.
Domestic Violence and Child Custody
The Texas family courts are required by law to consider any domestic violence factors before deciding child custody awards. And individuals charged with domestic violence can be denied custody rights or have his or her visitation rights greatly curtailed by the court. Therefore such accusations must be substantiated and never made in an attempt to gain the upper hand or exact revenge on an ex-spouse.
In any custody determination, the guiding principle is always what is in the best interest of your children. In this determination, the judge considers numerous factors including:
- The child's wishes
- The parents' wishes
- Any history of abuse or neglect
- Parenting history
- Household stability
- Personal behaviors of each parent
- Mental and physical health of the children and parents
Most states have adopted the model of the Code on Domestic and Family Violence, which presumes a child's best interests are not served by granting sole or joint custody to a parent charged with domestic violence. However, under certain circumstances, the court may consider other factors before completely severing a child's relationship with a parent.
Domestic violence has seriously impacted a divorce, can complicate child custody issues and requires a skilled Texas family law attorney. Contact Pfister Family Law online or call (972) 370-5172 to schedule a consultation.