Child Custody and Domestic Violence

Child Custody and Domestic ViolenceDomestic violence, and the resulting legal actions of temporary restraining orders and final restraining orders, are one of the most legally and emotionally impactful situations any family can deal with.

For victims of domestic violence and abuse, securing legal protection for themselves and their children is of the utmost importance; while for individuals falsely accused of domestic violence, the restrictions and ramifications a domestic violence charge can result-in need to be dealt with swiftly and effectively in order to avoid serious, long-term consequences.

One of the most important aspects which can be affected by a domestic violence dispute is that of child custody. While New Jersey family courts are of the opinion that children of divorced parents should spend as much time as possible with both parents after a divorce, this understanding can change greatly when domestic violence becomes a factor.

Below, we will discuss exactly how domestic violence can affect your Bergen County child custody agreement, and what options you have at your disposal for dealing with such a situation.

False Accusations of Domestic Violence and Your Bergen County Child Custody Agreement

If one parent makes false accusations of domestic violence against another, that same parent may have their access to their children greatly reduced by the courts during the negotiation of a child custody agreement, or a motion to modify a child custody agreement based on this exact circumstance.

It is highly likely that a family court will find that a child’s exposure to a parent capable of such a degree of deceit and manipulation is strongly against that child’s best interests. As a child’s best interests are the paramount determining factor of any legal matter involving children, chances are high that the court will either greatly reduce that parent’s parenting time and visitation rights, or even remove them altogether in extreme circumstances.

If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, it is extremely important that you retain experienced legal counsel not only to protect your rights during a Final Restraining Order hearing, but also to protect the best interests of your children when it comes to a child custody agreement, or a modification of a child custody agreement.

Incidents of Domestic Violence and Child Custody, Hackensack Family Law Attorneys

On the other hand, if a parent is proven to have committed acts of domestic violence, than family law courts have the authority to limit that parent’s visitation time with their children, or deny it entirely based upon the circumstances at hand. When making a child custody determination in cases where acts of domestic violence have occurred, a judge will consider the following factors when awarding child custody, or modifying a child custody agreement:

  • Were the incidents of domestic violence aimed at the children, the other parent, or both?
  • Does the violent parent continue to pose a threat to the children or the other parent?
  • Does the violent parent have a criminal record, or a pending criminal case?
  • How many times did the parent commit acts of domestic violence?
  • What injuries, if any, did the act(s) of domestic violence incur?
  • The testimony of any involved police officers or other concerned parties

Based upon the judge’s findings, they may order the violent parent to seek counseling, or attend anger management or parenting courses with the intended goal of becoming a more fit parent. In some cases, a judge may only temporarily limit the child custody of the offending parent contingent upon their rehabilitation, and in other cases may permanently revoke that parent’s access to, and visitation with, their children.

As you can see, New Jersey family courts have a great deal of discretion and authority when it comes to making child custody determinations involving incidents of domestic violence. While it is highly recommended that you retain the counsel of an experienced Hackensack family law attorney any time you are dealing with a child custody or domestic violence matter, when the two are tied together it becomes that much more important still to have experienced legal representation on your side.

Contact Our Bergen County Child Custody and Domestic Violence Attorneys Today

At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience successfully representing clients in all types of family law matters including divorce, child custody decisions, and domestic violence proceedings in towns across Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee.

Whether you are in need of legal representation during a child custody decision, in need of legal protection from an abuser, or have been falsely accused of domestic violence, our firm is prepared to provide you with the knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate legal counsel that you need and deserve in matters so critical to your legal and parental future.

To speak with our family law team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding a child custody settlement or a child custody modification, a domestic violence proceeding such as a Temporary Restraining Order or a Final Restraining Order hearing, or for legal guidance and representation when domestic violence is affecting your child custody agreement, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.