Facing domestic violence in child custody cases is often tricky. If you’re ready to get out of your abusive relationship there are many factors you need to consider. Here is a detailed list of those factors to help you and your children make a safe transition.
Keeping Detailed Records
When still living with your spouse or partner, make sure to keep records of every account of physical or emotional abuse inflicted upon your kids. Record the date, time, and place of each incident, as well as a description of what occurred. Also, photograph any injuries your children suffered from the abuse. By keeping detailed records you ensure that you and your kids will be protected from the abuser.
Stay Safe by Making a Plan
You are at most danger when you are actually leaving the relationship. Making sure you have a few safety nets in place is vital to keeping your children safe. Some of these safety nets include:
- Stashing money outside the house
- Storing clothes for you and your kids with a friend
- Preparing a safe place to stay
When arranging a safe place to stay do not go to your best friend’s place, or to any immediate family. Never stay anywhere predictable. Ask to stay with a friend or coworker your partner doesn’t know about, or you can even try staying at a shelter or hotel.
Seek Immediate Legal Custody
Should you and your kids need to leave the house quickly, immediately go to the court. At the court you can obtain an emergency protective order which will give you custody of your children. This order will also require your abusive partner to stay away from you. If you fail to go to the court to obtain a custody order, you can be accused of kidnapping.
It is vital that you remember that an emergency custody order is only temporary. Long term custody can only be obtained through the divorce or separation proceedings. During the proceedings, a judge will determine child custody based on what is in the best interests of the children. The court will consider the safety of the children, as well as any history of domestic violence when determining child custody. Other factors the court examine depend on your state’s child custody laws.
Allowing Safe Visitation
If your abusive partner has not abused the children, they may still receive visitation rights. If you fear for the safety of your children, you can ask the court for supervised visitation. You can also request that the court requires the other parent to not drink during the visitation or that certain people cannot be around the kids.
Arranging to drop off your kids at a neutral site or having a third party pick them up and drop them off is a great way to ensure your own safety. If you cannot make such arrangements, you can request to meet at your local police station.
To Learn More About Domestic Violence in Child Custody Cases
Custody and visitation issues are a difficult part of any divorce or separation proceedings. However, domestic violence in child custody cases is even more challenging. Hiring a family law attorney can help you get out of your abusive relationship. Your lawyer will help you make the best choices for you and your children. Contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.
You can also find legal assistance, at little to no cost, if you go to a shelter. The staff will help you file the initial paperwork to obtain a protective order. Your local courthouse can also provide you with instructions and assistance in dealing with domestic violence in child custody cases.