When it comes to custody cases, family courts are committed to the best interests of the child. This is the principle judges work from in making all of their decisions. The vast majority of the time, courts interpret this as the child having at least some contact with both parents regardless of how the two parents feel about one another. However, the situation can be much more complicated when domestic violence is involved. Parents in Michigan who have been victims of or accused of domestic violence should understand how family law courts will approach this issue.
Asking for evidence
Courts are focused on keeping children involved in custody cases safe, but this does not mean that they treat every allegation of domestic violence in the same way. One parent cannot simply accuse another of domestic violence and get custody. A court will look at whether there is evidence, such as police reports or medical records documenting the abuse.
Even if the court determines that abuse has occurred, this does not automatically mean that the abusing parent will be barred from seeing the child. A court will also consider the effects of the abuse on the child, how frequent and severe the abuse was, and whether the child or the other parent are still in danger.
In addition to loss of child custody, an accusation of abuse could have other consequences for a parent as well. For example, the parent might only be allowed supervised visitation with the child or have no visitation rights at all. Sometimes, restoration or maintenance of these rights could be contingent on successfully completing an anger management class or participating in counseling.
Parents who are involved in a custody situation in which domestic violence is a factor may want to consult an attorney. An attorney may be able to advise the parent how to proceed in order to protect the child or maintain a relationship with the child.