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Victims of domestic violence often fear leaving their spouses or significant others in part because of their children.

Aside from having to figure out how to support themselves financially after a split, they may be concerned that the abusive partner is going to have ongoing access to their children.

These sorts of cases don’t have easy answers to them, but parents should rest assured that New Jersey law does offer some protection to victims of domestic violence and their children.

Specifically, New Jersey judges who are deciding a custody case have to consider any history of domestic violence when deciding what is in the best interests of the children. In other words, a victim of domestic violence can present evidence to show how his or her partner’s violent tendencies make him or her not the best choice for custody.

Moreover, in some cases, a history of domestic violence can in some cases mean that a parent can successfully request restricted parenting time, including supervised visits.

As mentioned, though, these sorts of cases can be challenging. Even though courts take domestic violence seriously, they also are very reluctant to take away a parent’s visitation time without a really good reason.

Therefore, a victim of domestic violence will have to make sure that he or she presents and organized and well-documented case to the judge. It may be necessary to gather and submit police reports, copies of protective orders, medical reports and reports from mental health professionals. Of course, the victim must be prepared to testify effectively about his or her ordeal.

Family law matters in which domestic violence is in the mix require special sensitivity and legal skill when handling. A victim will want to consider his or her options carefully when proceeding.