Louisiana parents who are divorced or separated often have to deal with child custody issues. Domestic violence can affect how the court hands down custody.
How domestic violence impacts custody
When there is a history of domestic violence within the family, the court will determine whether the parent who has been accused is a risk to the child. This could affect whether that parent is granted parenting time with the child. The court always determines child custody based on what’s in the best interests of the child.
Domestic violence can hurt children in more ways than just physically. Even if the child is not the target of the abuse, they can suffer serious psychological harm from witnessing or hearing it against their parent.
Factors the court considers
When domestic violence is an issue, the court will decide how parenting time is allocated based on certain factors. The judge will not make a decision based on one parent’s word against the other. Instead, they want to know whether and how the domestic violence affected the child or if the child was the target of it.
A big factor judges consider is whether the parent accused of the abuse is still considered a threat to the other parent or the child. Any criminal charges pending against that person could determine an outcome in the custody case sooner.
The court also looks at any evidence, including photos, medical records and police reports that show that domestic violence has occurred.
If the court finds that the accused parent is a persistent risk to the child, that parent may not get visitation or it could be restricted. In some cases, supervised visitation might be allowed as long as the individual enters treatment in the form of a medical evaluation and therapy sessions.
In the most extreme cases of domestic violence, a parent’s parental rights may be terminated.