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Family Violence And Child Custody

Domestic violence is a regrettable reality for some Louisiana families. It is also true that possessing a history of domestic violence does not necessarily prevent individuals from seeking and obtaining visitation with their child. However, courts must consider several critical factors when determining allowable visitation for parents who have a record of family violence.

Generally, a parent convicted on charges related to family violence must complete specified treatment programs as a prerequisite for reclaiming visitation rights. If successful, courts typically allow supervised visitation only, unless there is compelling evidence indicating that unsupervised visitation is in the child’s best interests. Besides proof of program completion and continual abstinence from intoxicating substances, these parents must also demonstrate that they are no longer a danger to the child.

Parents who sexually abused a child must complete a specified sex offender treatment program before the possibility of reclaiming visitation rights will even be considered by a family law judge. Even for parents who do complete the program and meet the other requirements, regular visitation is not a likely outcome. Instead, they can expect supervised visits with the child.

The laws governing child custody are in place to ensure that children will grow up in environments that are conducive to their health, safety and growth. Because the child’s best interests is by law the court’s guiding principle in deciding these family law issues, parents seeking to obtain or prevent a visitation order may want to enlist the advice and tutelage of a family law attorney to help them craft effective arguments centered on the child’s best interests.

Source: Women’s Law, “Can a parent who committed violence get custody or visitation?“, December 29, 2014

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