Domestic Violence and How it Affects Child Visitation Rights in California
Domestic abuse can assume any number of forms, from physical, mental and emotional to economic (where one partner controls all the finances). But irrespective of the form domestic abuse takes, it always leaves scars on the victims – and can even affect the way courts make decisions concerning child custody.
In this McKean Family Law article, we will briefly explain what domestic violence is and how it affects child custody in the Golden State. If you have any questions following your reading of the article, we recommend you consult with one of the law experts at our office.
In California, violence of a domestic nature can be defined in a number of ways, including:
- Sexual assault
- Making other people feel reasonably afraid to the point they or someone else feel they are in danger of immediate bodily injury
- Intentionally or recklessly causing or trying to cause bodily injury
- Any other behavior that could spark a court to issue a domestic protective order including harassment, unwanted telephone calls, threats, stalking and physical assault
Further, that behavior is considered domestic-type violence when it’s committed against the following individuals:
- Current and former spouses
- People who live together or formerly lived together on a regular basis
- People related by blood or marriage
- People who share children
- Children themselves
- People who are or have been dating or engaged
Impact on Visitation
Judges are required to grant reasonable visitation rights to parents unless visitation would not be in the child’s best interests – of course, it is never in a child’s best interests (or anyone else’s, for that matter) to be exposed to violence, so the court can protect the child by, for instance, ordering supervised visitation (i.e. a third party supervising all visits between the child and the abusive parent) or banning overnight visits.
If a protective order has been issued, the court may grant visitation with conditions attached, such as third-party supervision, or may suspend or deny visitation entirely.
The Custody Factor
When it comes to custody of children, the California legislature’s public policy is to ensure their health, safety and welfare; in fact, according to the legislation, it is detrimental to a child if violence or abuse is perpetrated in the child’s home. As such, California’s custody law requires judges to take domestic abuse into account when determining legal and physical custody.
If you have any questions concerning domestic abuse or divorce, discover for yourself why McKean is often called the type of family law Roseville has been waiting for by calling (916) 666-7874.