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Domestic Violence
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Can I Get Full Custody Of My Child If My Spouse Hit Me?

Domestic violence, if present, will play a huge role in custody battles during divorce proceedings. Even though your spouse may have hit you and not abused your child, an unsafe environment was still created as a result of your spouse's actions. Statistics have shown that it is much more common for spousal abusers to become child abusers than for non-spousal abusers. Judges will take this into effect when determining a custody arrangement.

How A Judge Decides Custody

The reasoning behind a judge's decision to award or not award various custodial rights is always consideration for the child's well-being. If one spouse faces charges of domestic violence, it means that police have determined that he or she may have perpetrated the crime. This puts the charged spouse at a significantly higher probability of harming the child. Judges determine custody based on probability, which is based on past actions. If one spouse hasn't provided a safe, healthy home environment in the past, there is no guarantee that it will be present in the future.

Domestic Violence Charge Vs. Domestic Violence Conviction

In many states, the charge of domestic violence is enough to prevent the charged spouse from being allowed to spend time alone with his or her children. In some states, however, child custody can only be revoked if the spouse is actually found guilty of domestic violence. There are no states where someone found guilty of spousal violence will be allowed to spend time alone with children. The risk to the child is just too great.

The Difference Between Joint And Sole Custody

Joint custody is defined as sharing the responsibility for rearing the child. If one spouse is not allowed to spend time alone with a child, it means that the other parent has sole custody. She or he may allow parental visits and may even allow for occasional day trips with the non-custody parent. The point to keep in mind is that the child's welfare is the sole responsibility of the parent with full custody. Therefore, that parent has every right to deny the non-custody parent the option of seeing the child, except where agreed in the legal document, which may include a stipulation that the non-custody parent visits the child once per week for two hours or a similar agreement. Contact a domestic violence attorney or child custody attorney for more information or a consultation on matters specific to your situation by filling out the form above.