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How domestic violence affects the right to child custody

You are in a difficult situation. You fight to protect your child from your wife as you go through a divorce. You want to know that your child won't be in danger in the future. Domestic violence is a constant in your relationship, and it's important to you that your child doesn't see that violence while growing up. Do you have the ability to seek sole custody of your child? Can the courts restrict his mother from visiting him?

The court takes into consideration a number of factors before deciding if a person loses a right to see his or her child. Here are a few things you should know.

1. The courts do what's in a child's best interests

The courts always proceed by doing what's in a child's best interests. If you have proof that your spouse has beaten or injured your child in the past, the court may limit your ex's time with your child or take away her parental rights completely in severe cases. It is more likely that the non-abusive parent will receive primary custody. In some cases, this parent receives sole custody while the other has very limited or no allowed visitation.

2. You have a right to protection, and that protection could impact your case

When you leave your spouse, it's possible to seek a protection order against her. Your child is also included in that order. While some situations result in the alleged abusive parent receiving visitation rights, it's a good idea to request that these visits stay supervised for the protection of your child. If you later go through a divorce, evidence of this protection order helps boost your case against allowing your spouse to have custody of your child.

3. Those falsely accused have rights, too

Whether you're accusing your spouse of abuse or you are the one accused, it's important that all allegations are thoroughly investigated. This investigation needs to result in a decision on whether or not abuse took place, so the court has a better idea of the family d ynamic during your divorce. Abuse that is proven affects a person's right to child custody significantly, and making false claims equally affects a person's credibility in court.

Your attorney can help you understand what happens if you're planning on asking for a protective order or filing charges against your spouse for domestic abuse. You have the right as a parent to protect your child and as a victim to making sure your spouse is held responsible for her actions.

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