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In your child custody case, your number one priority is likely to keep your child safe. This is especially important to you if your former spouse has a history of domestic violence. Continue reading to learn whether domestic violence can impact child custody and how an experienced Bergen County domestic violence attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can help you navigate this situation.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is typically seen as the violent or aggressive behavior of one spouse to another, or even of one spouse to a child. Such violence or aggression can be physical, mental, or both.¬†Under the state of New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, victims of abuse can seek both criminal and civil relief, such as a restraining order.

How can a history of domestic violence impact a child custody case?

When making a child custody decision, a New Jersey family judge must consider if your former spouse has a history of domestic violence. This is because one of the many factors they must look at is whether your child will be safe from physical abuse, mental abuse, or otherwise when under the care of your former spouse.

Even if the judge does not grant your former spouse any physical custody or legal custody, they may still grant them reasonable visitation rights. Though, this may be deemed complicated if there is already a restraining order in place.

Nonetheless, the judge must grant a visitation order that works in your child’s best interest. For example, they may find it best if your former spouse is ordered to supervised visitation instead, or even unsupervised visitation but with banned overnight visits. Or, they may deny visitation altogether until your former spouse has completed counseling or parenting classes that prove that they can be trusted again.

What else can impact a child custody case?

Overall, if your former spouse has a history of domestic violence, the judge will consider them parentally unfit. Other circumstances in which your former spouse may be viewed as parentally unfit include the following:

  • Your former spouse has a history of alcohol abuse.
  • Your former spouse has a history of drug abuse.
  • Your former spouse has a history of incarceration.
  • Your former spouse has a history of institutionalization.
  • Your former spouse has a history of kidnapping.
  • Your former spouse has a history of child neglect.
  • Your former spouse has a criminal record.
  • Your former spouse has an unwillingness to accept custody.

We understand just how pivotal it is to attain a child custody order that keeps your child out of harm’s way. So, if you are ready to fight for this, retain the services of a skilled Bergen County child custody attorney today.

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