Can a Domestic Violence Charge Affect My Child Custody Agreement in GA?
Parents may still be entitled to visitation privileges in Georgia child
custody proceedings even if domestic violence charges are an issue.
Child custody matters are among the most heated proceedings dealt with in the Georgia family courts. While personal issues between the parties involved often complicate matters when making child custody and visitation arrangements, the fact is that each parent has certain rights when it comes to their role as a parent. Domestic violence accusations do impact these rights, but even parents facing these types of charges may still be entitled to spend time with their children.
How Domestic Violence Accusations Impact Child Custody
Domestic violence is an unfortunately common problem, both locally and throughout the country. According to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence (GCFV), more than 65,000 incidents involving family violence are reported to state law enforcement officials each year. Domestic violence can occur between married couples or those living together, as well as between parents and children or other family members. It may involve acts of physical violence, such as hitting, pushing, or kicking, as well as sexual violence, emotional abuse, stalking, and making threats.
When accusations of domestic violence result in criminal charges, the accused faces potentially serious penalties. In addition to the payment of fines, mandatory counseling, and possible imprisonment, there will often be an order issued preventing them from having contact with the victim. In Georgia child custody cases, these types of charges are taken seriously and the court’s primary concern is protecting the child’s best interests and safety. However, even a parent facing domestic violence accusations or criminal charges may still be entitled to visitation, although there are likely to be conditions involved.
Conditions for Visitation in Domestic Violence Cases
In creating time sharing plans between parents who are divorced or otherwise no longer together, domestic violence charges could prevent you from being awarded custody. However, under Title 19, Chapter 9, Article 7 of the Georgia Code, it does not automatically prevent you from having visitation privileges.
Under state law, a judge may award visitation or parenting time to someone charged with one or more acts of domestic violence provided that there are provisions in place to ensure the safety of both the child and the other parent involved. These provisions may include:
Ordering any exchanges between parents to be made in a protected setting;
Requiring any parenting time or visitation to be supervised by a third party or agency;
Requiring the accused to attend mandatory counseling sessions;
Ordering the accused to refrain from using alcohol and drugs or being in possession of any weapons;
Prohibiting overnight visitation;
Ordering the accused parent to pay a bond to ensure the return of the child.
Our Gwinnett County Child Custody Attorneys are Here to Help
At Zimmerman & Associates, we are here to help if domestic violence charges are an issue in your child custody case. To request a confidential consultation to discuss your options, call or contact our Norcross child custody attorneys online today.