Domestic violence represents a serious and dangerous situation in the family home. Spouses who suffer from physical and mental abuse may file for divorce to protect themselves and their children. New Jersey divorce proceedings could become complicated when the allegedly abusive spouse denies causing harm. The spouse might also seek joint custody of the children, creating concerns about their safety and welfare.
Domestic violence and child custody
Child custody typically focuses on the child’s best interests. The court would doubtfully trust the child’s care with a parent prone to violence and causing harm. A judge might review both parents’ criminal records – if any – and examine reports about violent behavior. Accusations of domestic violence may not be sufficient, and the court could require proof to support the allegations. Some domestic violence accusations might be false, complicating the divorce proceedings.
Proof of domestic violence might result in a parent facing a denial of visitation rights. In some cases, a parent could have visitation rights revoked when the court learns the parent is abusive towards the child.
Supervised visitation could be another option. Under these rules, a parent may need to spend time with the child at a designated location under the supervision of a social worker. Supervised visitations may reduce domestic violence incidents or, at the very least, alert authorities to such instances.
Additional matters related to child custody decisions
Since the court takes credible claims of domestic violence seriously, the family law judge may issue a restraining order to protect the victims. A restraining order could be temporary or long-term, and violations of the protective order may result in legal consequences.
Hopefully, an abusive parent and spouse will seek counseling for their behavior. Perhaps counseling sessions may lead to changes in the person’s troubling behavior.