Will I Lose Custody Of My Kids After A Domestic Violence Charge?
If you are arrested and charged with domestic violence, you may have to face potential consequences in your life even if you are not convicted of anything, though the consequences upon conviction will understandably be more severe. One of the worst is that domestic abusers can and do lose custody of their children if there is a reason to believe that it is not in the best interests of the child to spend time with them. Most parents will do anything to avoid this fate – and enlisting an attorney will often help to give a fighting chance to avoid it.
The Best Interests Of The Child
In family law, the state of Florida prioritizes the well-being of children over the rights of their parents, explicitly stating that the best interests of the child or children are the primary factor in determinations of parenting time, as well as child support determinations. Generally, the state presumes that shared custody is the best outcome for the children involved in a divorce case; studies have shown that children have a higher quality of life if both parents are involved in their lives.
However, Florida law establishes that an arrest or conviction – or even simply “evidence” of – child abuse or domestic violence will be considered by the court as evidence of detriment to the child. The presumption of shared custody being preferable can be overturned by a showing that it would be detrimental to the child – and if there is domestic violence in the home, it is obviously going to not be in the best interests of the child to witness such behavior.
Be Ready To Argue Your Case
If you are still in the middle of having your case heard, or if your domestic violence case is disposed of in another way (for example, you are granted entry to a pretrial diversion program, or your case is placed on the ‘nolle prosse’ docket, which is essentially deferred adjudication), the presumption against your having parenting time is not immediately inferred, but the court will take this legal trouble into account when trying to determine an appropriate parenting plan.
You do have the chance to try and rebut the presumption yourself; however, Florida’s courts have a pattern of granting second chances to those where the evidence in their case is less than concrete. Florida’s Department of Children and Families also sees ‘exposing children to domestic violence’ as a form of abuse, though, so if you are not careful, both you and your spouse may wind up in trouble.
Contact A Tampa Domestic Violence Attorney
Being arrested and charged with domestic violence is a difficult process to get through, but the possibility of it affecting your relationship with your children can make it terrifying. If you are in this situation, calling a West Palm Beach criminal attorney from the firm of Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can help get any questions answered. Contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.