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Domestic violence charges may affect child custody

Breaking up is hard to do, and it can make your emotions flare, especially your temper. When you allow your anger to take control, you may find yourself in hot water with the law.

If you get charged with domestic violence, the Virginia family law court may wind up holding it against you. Whether you and your ex have already reached an agreement for custody and parenting time or you just started the process, getting tripped up along the way with a physical assault charge may result in big hurdles to overcome.

Domestic violence basics

The definition of what constitutes an act of domestic violence has recently widened to include emotional abuse and threats to hurt another party physically. The factors that contribute toward a domestic violence charge include acts against people you live with, such as:

  • Family
  • In-laws
  • Spouse or significant other
  • Roommate

Domestic violence also extends to a person you do not live with if that person is your children's other biological parent.

The best interests of the child

You can believe that your ex will bring to light all of the negative acts you committed and any formal police action taken. When deciding child custody and visitation, the court looks at what is best for the children and what can potentially put them in harm's way. Therefore, any kind of record of alleged abuse, whether proved or not, can hurt a parent's chances of more time or legal custody.

Significant conditions imposed

If you have a criminal record with a domestic violence charge, the judge may wish to ensure you will not have an opportunity to harm your children when they are in your care. You may have to only visit your children in supervised settings, either with a court-appointed social worker or a personal representative of your choosing. In either case, the supervisor takes responsibility for ensuring the children are safe while in your care.

Your concern over losing your temper is valid, especially when it comes to facing criminal charges when you have children. Get the help of an attorney to guide you through what comes next.

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