During divorce proceedings, the court approaches child custody matters in a way that puts the child’s best interest first. It remains true when a case involves incidents or threats of domestic violence.
The court takes domestic violence seriously, more so if it affects children. It is a significant factor when finalizing custody decisions and visitation arrangements.
Even if a divorcing couple has already created a parenting plan, it could change if the court finds any implications of domestic violence. In this situation, they could mandate restrictions and limits as necessary.
However, these regulations also apply to nonviolent forms of abuse. If the court discovers signs of controlling behavior or coercion, they could still implement restrictions proportionate to their findings.
Types of restrictions
The court implements mandatory restrictions if it finds a pattern or history of:
- Domestic violence
- Threats of physical violence
- Inciting fear of imminent harm
- Sexual assault
Still, the application of these restrictions could depend on the circumstances. Having a prior conviction will not automatically require these limitations. However, the court could order them for a parent with no criminal history if the other parent shows proof of the committed abuse.
If the abuser’s actions do not necessarily fall under the legal definition of domestic violence, the court can still implement discretionary restrictions as needed. They usually apply for the following:
- Conflict manipulation causing psychological damage to the child
- Disruptions to the other parent’s financial or emotional stability
- Any other behavior that could negatively impact the child’s welfare
After determining these factors, the court could adjust and change the terms in the parenting plan to keep the abuser from disturbing the child’s life.
Additionally, they could decrease or remove parenting time if it could adversely impact the child’s best interest. However, executing these plans requires more effort and time, varying from case to case.