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How domestic violence impacts custody cases

35157407_S.jpgWhen an Illinois parent is accused of domestic violence, it could impact a subsequent child custody case. As courts take domestic abuse seriously, they are more likely to err on the side of caution to reduce the odds of putting a child in harm's way. As with any other child custody case, the court must determine what is in the best interest of the child when making a decision.

Generally, it doesn't matter whether the abuse occurred recently or in the distant past. A judge will be mostly concerned with if the abuser poses a danger to the child or to the other parent who was the victim of the abuse. A judge will also have to consider whether the abuse had an impact on the child even if he or she wasn't the victim or wasn't meant to witness an incident of abuse.

Other factors that may be considered are the severity and the frequency of the abuse as well as whether there is a criminal case currently pending. Police reports or any physical signs of abuse will also be considered when making a child custody ruling. In some cases, a judge may decide to limit visitation to supervised visits or prevent a child from staying with a parent overnight until further notice.

Victims who are in a child custody dispute may benefit from talking to someone who practices family law. Counsel might develop a strategy that may keep an abusive partner or former spouse from putting a child in danger. By pointing to recent instances of abuse or threats of abuse, it may be possible for a parent to obtain sole physical custody of a child.

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