How Does Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody In Florida?
Florida law defines domestic violence as assault, battery, stalking, sexual abuse, kidnapping, or any other criminal offense committed by one family or household member to another that results in injury or death. In custody situations, family law judges presume that parents should share custody equally. However, the best interests of the child prevail in these decisions and so, a judge will make other arrangements when necessary.
The family courts take domestic violence very seriously and an accusation can have a significant impact on child custody cases. Below, our Tampa family and child custody attorney explains further.
How Domestic Violence Impacts Child Custody Matters?
When a parent has been convicted of a domestic violence offense, regardless of whether it was a misdemeanor or felony, the court will presume that it is not in the best interests of the child for that parent to have custody. Even when the victim was not the child, a domestic violence conviction shows that the individual has aggressive tendencies, and placing a child in their home may place them at risk. A conviction of domestic violence in any other state will also result in a parent losing child custody.
A person does not have to be convicted of a domestic violence charge for an accusation to impact their child custody case. The courts will still consider any evidence of child abuse or domestic violence when making decisions on child custody matters. Additionally, parents have a legal obligation to inform the court of any injunctions, accusation of domestic violence, or termination of parental rights of other children.
When a child custody case involves domestic violence, a judge must determine whether the accused parent should have any communication or association with the child at all. Before granting visitation, the court must be convinced that it would not place the child in danger.
Supervised Visitation After a Domestic Violence Accusation
A domestic violence accusation may result in a judge assigning a trained supervisor to monitor visits between the child and the parent. The Florida courts work with many different visitation programs that manage visits between children and their parents. In some instances, a judge may order the parent accused of domestic violence to cover all costs associated with the supervised visitation.
When Might Parental Rights Be Terminated?
It is not generally in the best interests of a child for parental rights to be terminated, so it is only in rare instances in which a judge would make this decision. Still, there are different situations when a judge may make this decision. These include when:
- A parent is a habitual career criminal
- A parent is deemed a sexual predator
- A parent has committed aggravated child abuse, or has sexually abused a child
- A parent has a conviction for first or second degree murder
- A parent has committed a first-degree felony of sexual battery
Our Child Custody Attorneys in Tampa Can Assist with Your Case
Whether you have been accused of domestic violence or you suspect your spouse of it, our Tampa child custody attorneys at All Family Law Group, P.A. can assist with your case and advise you of your legal options. Call us now at 813-672-1900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Se habla Español.