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How Will Accusations of Domestic Abuse Affect My Child Custody Case?

Posted on in Domestic Violence

Palo Alto restraining order defense attorney child custodyIf you have been accused or convicted of domestic abuse, what happens when it comes time to determine custody of your children? In California, criminal law and family law are considered separate matters. However, accusations of domestic violence or abuse can affect your parental rights. When facing allegations of abuse, an attorney can address your concerns about child custody and help you determine how to defend against these accusations.

The Potential Impact of Abuse Charges

In California, alleged victims may seek legal protection against their accused abusers. If a person obtains a restraining order, it may make a variety of requirements that an alleged abuser must follow. These requirements may include: 

  • No-contact -- The alleged abuser may not make contact with his or her alleged victim, either physically or through calls, texts, emails, or any other means.
  • Provisional contact -- This option is sometimes used in cases involving custody, so that the alleged abuser may communicate with the victim about the children only.
  • Stay-away provision -- The alleged abuser must stay a certain distance away from the alleged victim.
  • Move-out provision -- The alleged abuser must move out of the home that he or she has lived in with the alleged victim.
  • Firearms provision -- The alleged abuser must give up any firearms and may not purchase any additional weapons.
  • Counseling provision -- The alleged abuser must attend counseling with a psychologist, social worker, or drug or alcohol abuse program.
  • Provision regarding payment of expenses -- The alleged abuser must pay bills related to the alleged abuse, such as moving expenses, medical costs, loss of earnings, etc.

Restraining orders may also extend to the alleged victim’s family members. However, even when accused of abuse, a parent will typically be allowed to have regular access to his or her child unless it is proven that the child has been abused or endangered through the abuse. In some cases, a parent accused of abuse may be required to have supervision present when spending time with their child until it can be demonstrated that the child is not in danger of harm when in their care.

Best Interests of the Child

Circumstances will vary, but courts in California are supposed to take the child’s best interests into account when making decisions about child custody. Past or continuing abuse against the child or someone else in the household should be considered. However, if the court determines that there is no proof of such abuse affecting the children, the presumption is that it is in a child’s best interests to have a relationship with both parents.

Contact a Knowledgeable Santa Clara County Domestic Abuse Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of domestic abuse, or if you have been convicted of domestic violence charges, the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson can help you determine your best defense strategy while ensuring that you understand your options for protecting your parental rights. Contact an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and determine your next move. Call 408-246-3004 to set up a free consultation. 

Sources:

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/gpsolo/publications/gp_solo/2015/july-august/divorce_and_domestic_violence_when_family_law_meets_criminal_law/

https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/domestic_violence1/Charts/2014%20Joint%20Custody%20Chart.authcheckdam.pdf

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