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The effects of domestic violence on child custody

When most people hear or see the term "domestic violence" it is usually an automatic response to think of the violent behavior happening between spouses. The truth of the matter is that domestic violence occurs in a multitude of situations, and other types of intimate relationships. While, yes, it can occur between current or former spouses, it may also occur between two people who are just dating, two siblings, two roommates or two unmarried parents.

Domestic violence may also occur between a parent and a child, and it does not always amount to physical violence. Other forms include verbal abuse, such as calling a child names or shouting, emotional abuse, such as making a child fearful or unwanted, financial abuse, such as withholding certain needs from a child as punishment or psychological abuse, such as threatening or intimidating.

Some people may be surprised to find out that Colorado may still grant an abuser custody or parenting time with a child. The child's best interests will be taken into consideration as a whole rather than based solely on an abusive claim or incident. Depending on the severity of abuse, differing types of custodial arrangements can be made. It is always in the interests of the court to allow parenting time with both parents whenever possible. In situations in which a child's physical or mental well-being is a concern, supervised visitation may be ordered. In instances in which the domestic violence occurred between the two parents, the court may order the parties to exchange the child at a neutral place, such as the police station. In addition, when the parents cannot get along, a court may order special circumstances, such as limited telephone communication.

When custody of a child is at stake and domestic violence is an issue, a family law court will focus on the best interests of the child. Returning to court later for custody modification can be expensive and stressful. It is always best to put your best effort forward in determining a suitable custody arrangement from the start.

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Mary Kay Kramer, P.C.
1820 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

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