Child custody is almost exclusively determined using the best interests model. Essentially, the family court will determine what arrangement is in the best interests of the child or children involved. During divorce proceedings, parents may ask the courts to take certain information into account when making their custody determination. Sometimes this information is influential, while other times it makes no difference. When allegations of domestic violence arise, the family court will likely take the best interests model to a whole new level of safety.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce, you may learn of, or have a suspicion that your child is spending part of their time in an unsafe environment. As the complexities of mixed families continue to grow, it is likely that your children will spend a portion of their time with individuals you do not know or do not care for. It is important, when these situations arise, that you carefully consider your next steps. If you have reason to believe abuse is occurring, you should contact authorities. You may also want to speak with a family law attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the situation, you may be able to petition the family court for full physical and legal custody.
While a finding of domestic violence will likely impact child custody, a false allegation of abuse may do the same. If a family court finds that one parent has falsely accused the other of abuse or domestic violence in order to gain custody, they may make a custody determination that limits the time spent with that parent. After all, the family court is tasked with setting custody based on what is best for a child. And, spending time with a parent that would falsely accuse the other of abuse may not be it.
Regardless of whether you suspect abuse or are being falsely accused of it, you may benefit by working with an experienced family law attorney. With their help, you may be able to better defend yourself from false allegations, or petition the court for full legal and physical custody.