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The possibility of custody after domestic violence

Georgia parents may be interested in some information on child custody when there are past incidents of domestic violence. Whether or not to allow that abusive parent custody or visitation may be at the discretion of a judge.

When one of a child's parents has committed domestic violence\ against family members in the past, questions arise as to whether they may be eligible for child custody. A judge who is deciding on the custody issue will take this fact into consideration, but it is just one of a number of factors that go into the decision. The judge will consider the past violent acts and the overall safety of the child and the victim parent. While this may weigh heavily against granting custody to the parent who has committed acts of violence, it does not bar it entirely. The judge will ultimately decide based on the best interests of the child.

When child custody is not awarded to the parent who has committed violence, there may still be a question of visitation rights. The judge will examine the safety of the child during those visitation times and make their determination based on a number of factors. These include whether the visit is supervised, there are no overnight visits and that the abuser has attended a certified intervention and prevention program to stop further domestic violence. The judge may also require that the abuser post a bond to help ensure that the child is returned safely.

Determining a parent's rights to maintain the safety of their child when there has been physical violence in the past can be difficult without the assistance of an attorney. The attorney may be able to assess the situation and represent the parent in front of a judge.

Source: WomensLaw.org, "State Custody Information", accessed on Feb. 17, 2015

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