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Butler, Thiessen & Metzinger | Family Law Specialists

Focused, Dedicated, Determined since 1986

Can domestic violence charges bar my child custody chances?

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2015 | Child Custody, Firm News |

Difficult family situations can arise when loved ones find themselves embroiled in arguments. All throughout Stockton, parents have battled with each other over issues that they feel are important to their families, and parents and children have argued over topics as minor as what to wear and as major as children’s behavior.

Arguments between loved ones, though unsettling, can often be resolved. When arguments escalate into incidents of domestic violence, however, parents can find themselves in a challenging position with regard to getting custody of their kids.

The Courts of California provide guidance on the difficult topic of gaining child custody after being charged with domestic violence. Primarily, it is important to understand what domestic violence actually is. Domestic violence does not have to be physical violence. It can be threats of violence communicated verbally or in writing. It can include sexual violence as well as hitting, kicking, pushing and other forms of physical fighting.

If a parent has been found to have committed domestic violence in the five years preceding the child custody matter, a court may prevent him or her from getting custody of a child. He or she may be denied physical custody of the child but may be granted some form of visitation; legal custody may be granted or denied by the family court.

There are exceptions to this rule. If a parent completes a course of domestic violence, he or she may be able to gain custody even with a domestic violence determination in the near past. Parents who have been convicted of domestic violence must generally abide by their parole or sentencing determinations in order to seek custody of their children. Though all domestic violence cases are different, having a domestic violence conviction on one’s record can make it difficult for a parent to have custody of his or her child.