How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody

The unfortunate truth is that domestic violence happens in many homes across the United States. In fact, The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) estimates that on average, nearly 20,000 calls were made to the National Domestic Violence Hotline per day in 2018. That averages to 400 calls per state in a day. 

Going through a domestic situation is a sensitive subject and can be difficult to talk about. But the important thing is that you and your children are safe. A smart way to ensure your safety is to consider a Domestic Violence Order.

What’s a DVO?

A Domestic Violence Order (DVO) is a general description of two types of Orders made under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012. A Domestic Violence Order can be either: 

  1. A Temporary Protection Order, or
  2. A Protection Order

Depending on your situation, you may be granted temporary or indeterminate protection by the judge assigned to your domestic violence case. Just as with filing a restraining order, seeking a domestic violence order can incite fear of retaliation from the abusive spouse, which is one of the reasons we want to obtain the order on your behalf so you can feel comfortable and safe. The DVO can help you:

  • Stop the abuser from further domestic violence
  • Refrain any communication from the abuser
  • Prohibit the abuser from damaging any of your property
  • Evict the abuser from your home
  • Keep the abuser from going within 500 feet of your home, school, or job — this may also extend to your family members

Aside from the above mentioned, obtaining a DVO has a direct impact on the custody and monetary support of your children.

Will Filing a DVO Grant Me Sole Custody?

Kentucky courts consider domestic abuse as an important factor in deciding child custody agreements between spouses. If you are a victim of spousal abuse, the state may grant you sole custody of any children as well as order the abuser to pay child support and — in some cases, order the abuser to wear a GPS monitor. 

Visitation Restrictions Invoked by a DVO

If domestic violence is involved, the court can order certain limitations to be placed on the visitation rights of the abusive parent, for example:

  • Visits must be supervised by a third party.
  • Custody exchanges may be required to take place in a safe location — like a public building with metal detectors.
  • The child welfare department may be required to ensure that both parents are following the visitation agreements established by the court.

These conditions can apply to any situation where abuse has taken place between parents. However, if the child has suffered abuse, the state may terminate all parental rights if the following has occurred:

  • Serious bodily harm has been inflicted on the child
  • The parent has been convicted of a crime involving physical harm to the child
  • Abuse or neglect will likely continue if parental rights are not terminated
  • The parent has been convicted of any abuse of any child

These charges are very serious, and if you are going through a domestic situation involving any of the above, report it to the authorities and hire an experienced domestic violence attorney. 

What If I Was Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

Being wrongfully accused of abuse is as serious as it damaging. If you have been accused of abuse that hasn‘t taken place, you need to contact an attorney immediately so you can make sure your side of the story is preserved and properly presented. 

If you are facing allegations of domestic violence, you can’t wait to take action. The longer you wait to go to the authorities and retain a lawyer, the more damage is done to your name and your credibility with the courts. 

Choosing Your Attorney in the Shepherdsville Area

Principal attorney John Schmidt is experienced in both family law and criminal defense, which gives him the knowledge and skills to prepare strong legal strategies that will help you in domestic violence cases. Suffering domestic violence or false allegations of violence can seem lonely and impossible to get through, but with the services of the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates PLLC, we can help you find ways to get through this and move forward.

Based in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, we are readily available to clients in Louisville, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, Radcliff, and surrounding areas. Call today to set up a free one-on-one consultation with an experienced attorney.


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