The Impact of Domestic Violence on Child Custody and Visitation

Posted by Leslie SarjiMay 29, 20150 Comments

A history of domestic violence in a family can have a significant impact on a parent's ability to obtain custody of their child or children. In South Carolina, the family court judges do not look fondly on parents who have a history of violent or abusive behavior towards family members, children or domestic partners. In fact, judges in South Carolina tend to find that it is in the best interest of the child to not be placed in the custody of a parent with a history of abuse or violence, and further often place restrictions on the parent's visitation rights, if visitation is awarded at all. In South Carolina, acts of domestic violence or abuse can place a parent's child custody and/or visitation rights in jeopardy.

Types of Visitation Restrictions

When custody is not allowed, and only restricted visitation is permitted, the types of restrictions that can be varied. The court could order:

  • That Visitation Be Limited In Time. Child visitation for parents with a history of domestic violence or abuse is often limited in time. This type of restricted visitation usually amounts to a few hours with the child at a time, with the most being a portion of a day.
  • That Visitation Be Limited In Scope. Child visitation that is limited in scope usually means that the parent cannot go anywhere unauthorized with the child, or that the child may not spend the night with the parent. Sometimes, it is a concern of the court that the parent might be a flight risk and may be inclined to kidnap the child and take them across state lines. In situations where this is a real concern, the court might impose that the parent put up a bond (i.e., a certain amount of money) in exchange for visitation time, which the parent will get back upon the safe return of the child.
  • That Visitation Be Monitored. The court could impose monitored visitation restrictions, which means that any visitation session between the parent and the child must be supervised. In some situations, the child's other parent, or a family member can monitor the visitation. In other situations, the visitation must be carried out in a designated facility staffed by trained professionals who monitor parent-child visitation sessions. Supervised visitation is usually a temporary precaution.

Restrictions on visitations can be lifted over time, and with a showing that a more traditional visitation arrangement would be in the best interests of the child.

Can Visitation Be Denied Entirely?

In the worst instances of domestic violence, such as systematic acts of domestic violence or abuse in the home over a long period of time or if the parent committed acts of violence against the child, the court might deny visitation entirely.

Contacting a Charleston Family Law Attorney

Issues involving domestic violence in the home can lead to a lot of family law issues. A couple could get divorced over domestic abuse (physical cruelty) and domestic violence can have an impact on child custody and visitation. If you are facing legal issues concerning domestic violence, divorce, or child custody and visitation, consult with the family law attorneys at Sarji Law Firm, LLC. Contact us today at 843-323-4341.

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