How Domestic Abuse Affects Custody in a Divorce

Family Legal Services

Domestic violence can negatively impact the outcome of a custody case. When there is evidence to support the presence of frequent family ferocity, a judge can make life-changing decisions about child custody and visitation. What that sort of damning evidence doesn’t do, however, is affect the judge’s determination of child support obligations.

Ontario uses a “no-fault” system – one which doesn’t use partner violence as evidence to justify an increase or decrease in equalization or support. Evidence like that is typically used when clients are dealing with relationship and/or safety issues regarding their children. For instance, parents who are attempting to set up joint custody might find it difficult to work together on a schedule. Therefore, a judge may rule in favor of one parent or another and determine visitations to be supervised.

As always, it’s more important to consider the safety of children than it is to consider their financial wellbeing. Violence in the home cannot be ignored, especially during court proceedings. However, it cannot be a factor used to determine monetary values.

On the contrary, violent ex-spouses are generally removed from the premises by law enforcement long before clients reach out to attorneys or appear in court. At times, domestic violence allegations get disputed and can thus not be used as evidence in other court cases until a verdict is found. Usually, sound proof of abuse is required for a judge to make calls regarding child custody and visitation.

If possible, clients should obtain police reports indicating details surround the domestic violence allegations. Reports from on-duty law enforcement can serve as solid evidence in custody hearings simply because they often indicate who is truthful and who is not. As such, numerous factors are considered by the judge before a verdict is rendered.
Although family violence is one of the most common causes of separation and divorce, judges and lawyers understand that several issues play a role in any relationship’s eventual breakdown.

In fact, the following factors are usually considered by the magistrate automatically: •Financial security or hardship
•Housing situation
•Infidelity
•Support network
•Occupation
•Relationship with the child

Most experienced family law practitioners work hard to remain compassionate with their clients, especially those who are dealing with a rough separation or divorce due to domestic violence. On a strictly human level, clients who experience trauma or abuse are more likely to need the security of a helping hand, professionally or otherwise.

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