How does domestic violence affect child custody?

Alcohol, violence and divorce concept. teddy bear, rings and bottle with glass in a dark room
Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Carlos Lopez

Episodes of domestic violence can affect the custody of your children in many ways and it is a difficult thing to deal with, since its consequences are high on everyone affected by it. If you or your children have suffered from domestic abuse , it has surely crossed your mind how to continue life after it and even wondering who to turn to in these cases.

Don’t forget that our legal system will always work in your favor, especially for domestic violence and child custody cases where the most important thing is that everyone is safe and away from the abuser. Having custody of your children is beneficial and a right that belongs to you.

Ways in which domestic violence can affect child custody

The frequency of domestic violence cases within the United States has become alarming in recent decades and its impact on those who experience it varies from state to state.

A child who witnesses domestic abuse between his or her parents may also be a transmitter of this type of violent behavior to the next generation (as an adult).

Don’t forget that allegations of domestic violence are very serious and are treated as such by family law judges. If there is a divorce involved, any domestic abuse will have a significant impact on the judge’s decision about child custody and visitation.

Your children are the most important in any situation

Did you know that protecting your children in domestic violence situations is the immediate goal of any family law attorney?

If a judge learns that there are episodes of domestic violence in a case he or she is handling, this story is taken as seriously as possible and will take into account what the relationship is with the other parent. Children suffer whenever one parent abuses the other (in any way) and that is why if there has been repeated or severe abuse of this type, the judge will not give custody to the abused parent.

Most U.S. states allow the defendant to disprove the allegation of domestic violence, but this requires that he or she present evidence which may include showing that the defendant is not a threat to his or her partner or child.

If the episodes of domestic violence are severe, some parents may create accusations of domestic violence and thus have an advantage in seeking custody of the children. It is very important to refute these accusations if the accused party believes that he or she has made a mistake. In this case, it is essential that you seek a Washington D.C. family law attorney.

In any event, remember that your attorney will work to make sure that you and your children are safe, especially in cases where there is ongoing domestic abuse. Some of the things he or she can do include:

  • Help you find a place for them to stay for a short time.
  • Coordinate with a judge to obtain an emergency order preventing your partner´s access to your home.
  • Seek a court order to restrict visitation with your children.
  • Create a restraining order on your behalf (Temporary restraining orders can be in effect for up to four weeks in many states).

Don’t forget: Your family law attorney is on your side!

Without a doubt, the welfare of your children will always be the most important thing in any situation.

One of the possible consequences you may see if your child witnesses (or physically suffers) domestic violence is that his (or her) behavior will begin to change and you will have to watch for those behavioral changes.

Other long-term negative consequences of your child being exposed to domestic abuse may be that he or she will see violence (and becoming violent) as a reasonable outlet for dealing with the anger or frustration he or she feels at not being able to help in these situations.

Trust your family law attorney, he will give you all the information you need for the judge to find out what role your child plays in these situations. One way to handle this, in case your child is unable or unwilling to answer the questions in isolation, is for both you and your family law attorney to offer answers for your child to answer yes or no to.

Domestic Violence Lawyer in Washington, D.C.

If you are in a relationship where there is domestic violence and you want to get a divorce for your peace of mind and that of your children, trust the team at Lopez Law, we will be able to help you with all the legal aspects to make this happen. Schedule your consultation today!


  1. Yael Walton says:

    I cant believe some people still question the impact of domestic violence on child custody! Seriously?

  2. Albert says:

    Wow, this article really opened my eyes to the impact of domestic violence on child custody.

  3. Madeline Matthews says:

    Hmm, I think its a tough call. On one hand, protecting the kids should be the priority. But can an attorney really be fully on your side?

  4. Eloise says:

    Wow, this article really opened my eyes to how domestic violence impacts child custody! 😮 #ProtectOurChildren

    • Maya says:

      I couldnt agree more! Its about time we prioritize the safety and well-being of our children instead of blindly awarding custody based on outdated norms. Domestic violence should never be overlooked or tolerated. #ProtectOurChildren

  5. Ray Johns says:

    I believe that domestic violence should automatically result in losing child custody rights.

Comments are closed.