When it comes to matters of child custody, acts of abuse between family members can have a great deal of impact on the eventual outcome. Many in Florida believe that the party who has been subjected to acts of domestic violence will automatically have the upper hand in a custody case. In reality, however, the courts take a very careful approach to all child custody matters, including those that contain allegations of domestic violence.
This means that simply being a victim of domestic violence may not sway the court to award primary or full custody to the abused party. In some cases, the courts feel that domestic violence claims are a matter of "he said, she said" and cannot be adequately documented. In other cases, the courts simply feel that the relationship between parents, even if violent, does not necessarily extend to how each parent relates to his or her child.
Another matter relates to the ability of each parent to adequately provide for the needs of a shared child. In many cases, a parent who has been subjected to years of domestic violence lacks the financial means to support his or her child. This can leave the abuser in a position of advantage when it comes to seeking custody. Unfortunately, many victims lack the resources to fight for their child custody rights.
The Florida courts are tasked with placing the best interest of the child at the forefront of every child custody case. However, in matters of domestic violence, things can quickly become skewed. Anyone who faces this type of legal battle should take steps to retain an attorney who is able to fight to preserve the parental rights of the victim and ensure that the children are safe and well cared for.
Source: parentherald.com, "Domestic Violence & Child Custody Myths: These Beliefs Will Hurt Families More Than Help Them", Amanda Moore, Sept. 20, 2016