While no relationship is perfect, it is clear that no marriage should include violence or abuse. The cycle of abuse often keeps spouses together longer then they should. Additionally, when children are involved, an abused spouse will often continue living in this unsafe situation for the sake of their children and not breaking up the family. However, many spouses escape from abusive relationship with their children, resulting in difficult child custody matters during the divorce proceedings.
Allegations of domestic violence during divorce proceedings
The state of New Jersey takes allegations of domestic violence seriously, which is why they will carefully assess these claims when child custody is at issue. The major concern is that if the court doesn’t take a strong stance on these allegations, the parent accused of abuse could wind up harming the child. Thus, courts in general tend to be fairly conservative when granting custody or visitation to a parent accused of abuse.
Domestic violence is an epidemic
The number of domestic violence acts observed by children are concerning and only growing due to the current conditions in the nation and world. Recent data indicates that around 15.5 million children witness acts of domestic violence each year. Domestic violence is often the reason for a divorce filing, but it is not always to reason for the custody order that is in place.
The court will consider various factors when establishing a child custody order after allegations of domestic violence have been made. This includes whether the alleged instances had an effect on the child or were directed at them, whether the accused parent continues to pose a danger to the child or parent, the severity and frequency of the domestic violence, whether there is a pending criminal case against the accused, any physical evidence of abuse and any police reports documenting incidents of alleged abuse.
Going through a custody battle is a challenging time for any parent; however, when allegations of domestic violence are included, a victim parent is faced with a more challenging and emotional time ensuring that not only they are safe but that their children are safe as well. Thus, it is important that one understands what rights are afforded to them so they can take proper action to protect these rights and the best interests of their children.