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Child custody cases can become complicated when domestic violence is involved. For victims of domestic violence, the top concern is protecting their children from harm, often leading to questions about custody and parenting rights. The Law Office of Daniel Hutto specializes in addressing these sensitive issues, understanding that domestic violence allegations can significantly affect child custody.

Whether you are a parent who has experienced domestic violence or one accused of such, it’s important to recognize how these allegations can impact physical and legal custody. 

In extreme cases, the history of domestic violence may lead to the adjustment of the accused parent’s visitation rights or even the loss of custody. 

 To start addressing your concerns, the Law Office of Daniel Hutto offers a free initial consultation.

This article covers the following topics:

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in Arizona, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

domestic violence against child

 What Does the Court Consider As Domestic Violence 

In Arizona, domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse. The legal framework encompasses a broad spectrum of behaviors, including but not limited to:

  • Physical assault or injury
  • Sexual assault
  • Threatening, harassing, or intimidating behavior
  • Emotional abuse
  • Destruction of property

Under Arizona Revised Statutes §13-3601, a wide array of relationships qualifies for domestic violence consideration, extending beyond spouses to include former partners, close relatives, and individuals residing in the same household.

How Does an Accusation or Conviction Affect Child Custody?

Under Arizona Revised Statutes §25-403.03, if the court finds that a parent has committed an act of domestic violence, it must consider such evidence when determining custody arrangements. The convicted parent might face:

  • Protected Setting for Child Exchange: The court may order that the exchange of the child occur in a protected setting. This measure is designed to ensure the safety of all parties involved, especially in situations where there is a risk of conflict or harm.
  • Supervised Parenting Time: The court might mandate that a designated agency supervise parenting time. In cases where a family or household member is permitted to supervise, the court sets strict conditions to be followed during parenting time to ensure a safe and secure environment for the child.
  • Mandatory Intervention Programs: The offending parent may be required to attend and successfully complete a program of intervention for perpetrators of domestic violence, along with any additional counseling deemed necessary by the court. This aims to address the root causes of the behavior and reduce the risk of future incidents.
  • Restrictions on Substance Use: The court may order the parent who committed domestic violence to abstain from possessing or consuming alcohol or controlled substances during and 24 hours before parenting time, ensuring the parent is in a sober and stable state during interactions with the child.
  • Fees for Supervised Parenting Time: The offending parent might be required to pay fees to cover the costs of supervised parenting time, highlighting the seriousness of the situation and the additional resources being utilized to ensure the child’s safety.
  • Prohibition of Overnight Parenting Time: To protect the child, overnight visits might be prohibited, especially in cases where there is a heightened risk of harm or where the parent’s living situation is deemed unsafe or unstable.
  • Safety Bond: The court may require the offending parent to post a bond, ensuring the child’s safe return after visitation. This acts as a financial deterrent against potential abduction or harm.
  • Confidentiality of Addresses: To protect the child and the other parent from potential harm or harassment, the court might order that the addresses of the child and the non-offending parent remain confidential.
  • Additional Protective Conditions: The court can impose any other conditions deemed necessary to protect the child, the other parent, and any other family or household member.

It’s important to note that the court’s decision depends on various factors, with the ultimate goal being the child’s best interest.

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supervised visitation with father and son

How Does A Charge Impact Visitation Rights? 

A domestic violence charge in Arizona can greatly affect a parent’s visitation rights, as the court’s priority is the child’s safety. The parent may face supervised visits, ensuring the child’s well-being while maintaining parental contact.

Visitation might be limited in frequency and duration, and overnight stays could be prohibited if the situation is deemed risky.

The court may impose conditions like attending domestic violence programs or abstaining from substances during and before visits. These restrictions, however, can be reviewed and potentially adjusted over time, depending on the parent’s progress and the child’s needs.

Can I Include My Child in a Restraining Order?

In Arizona, you can legally include your child in a restraining order, also known as an Order of Protection. This legal measure protects individuals, including children, from imminent harm or harassment.

When domestic violence poses a threat, the court recognizes the necessity to extend protection to all potentially affected family members.

 Here’s what you need to know about including your child in a restraining order:

  1. Filing for Protection: You can request an Order of Protection on behalf of your child as part of your own filing. The court will consider the nature of the threat and the relationship between the child and the individual from whom you’re seeking protection.
  2. Court Considerations: When deciding whether to include a child in a restraining order, the court assesses the risk posed to the child, any previous incidents of violence or threats, and the overall safety and well-being of the child.
  3. Legal Implications: Including a child in a restraining order can have broader implications, particularly in ongoing custody or divorce proceedings. It might influence custody arrangements, visitation rights, and the overall dynamics of the case.
  4. Ensuring Compliance: Once a child is included in a restraining order, it’s necessary that all parties understand and comply with the terms set by the court. Violations can lead to legal consequences and further court actions.

If you’re considering including your child in a restraining order due to domestic violence concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional. They can guide you through the process, ensuring you and your child receive necessary protection.

regaining custody after a domestic violence accusation

How Can I Get Back Custody After a Domestic Abuse Conviction?

Here’s how you can work towards restoring your parental rights and physical custody:

  1. Engage in Rehabilitation: Actively participate in court-ordered programs targeting domestic abuse behavior. Completion of these programs demonstrates to the court your commitment to change and your understanding of the serious implications domestic violence may have on your child.
  2. Establish a Safe Environment: Show the court that you can provide a secure and stable environment for your child. This includes having a safe home, stable income, and a supportive network, emphasizing the safety of the children and your ability to protect children from potential harm.
  3. Document Your Transformation: Keep a record of your rehabilitation journey, including therapy sessions, program certificates, and any positive lifestyle changes. This documentation is crucial in challenging any false allegations and showcasing your dedication to being a responsible parent.
  4. Legal Representation: Partner with a reputable firm specializing in family law. An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the legal intricacies, advocate for your parental rights, and help address the presumption against granting custody to parents with a history of domestic violence.
  5. Petition for Custody Modification: Once substantial progress is made, your attorney can help you petition the court to reconsider the custody and visitation arrangement. The court will thoroughly review the changes and may require supervised visitation initially to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of the child.
  6. Continuous Commitment: Understand that regaining custody is an ongoing process. Continuously engage in positive behaviors and maintain open communication with all involved parties, including the national domestic violence hotline if necessary, to prevent any misunderstanding or recurrence of past behaviors.

Regaining custody after a domestic abuse conviction is challenging, but not impossible. It requires a sincere commitment to change, a clear understanding of the legal processes involved, and the professional guidance of a family law attorney.

By focusing on the best interests of the child and demonstrating your ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment, you can work towards restoring your relationship with your child and potentially regaining custody.

 Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Does a history of domestic violence affect regular custody arrangements?
A: Yes, a history or pattern of domestic violence may significantly impact custody and visitation rights, often leading to supervised visits or loss of custody to ensure the safety of the children.

Q: What if I’m accused of domestic violence during a custody battle?
A: An accusation of domestic violence can lead to an investigation and possibly alter custody arrangements. 

Q: Can witnessing domestic violence affect a child’s custody?
A: Yes, witnessing domestic violence is considered harmful and can lead to changes in custody orders, prioritizing the child’s safety and possibly resulting in unsupervised visitation restrictions for the accused parent.

Q: How should a parent with a domestic violence arrest handle custody negotiations?
A: A parent with a domestic violence arrest needs legal representation to demonstrate rehabilitation and ensure the custody arrangement prioritizes the children’s safety, considering the impact of domestic violence.

Q: How does domestic violence influence the termination of parental rights?
A: A proven pattern of domestic violence can lead to the termination of parental rights, as the court prioritizes the safety and well-being of the child, potentially terminating rights to protect the child.

Q: What support is available for domestic violence victims dealing with custody issues?
A: Victims can seek support from family law attorneys experienced in domestic violence cases, as well as support groups, counseling services, and resources like the National Domestic Violence Hotline for guidance during the custody process.

How The Law Office of Daniel Hutto Can Help

Divorce Attorneys in Phoenix AZ

The Law Office of Daniel Hutto specializes in providing compassionate and knowledgeable legal assistance in family law matters, particularly when domestic violence is involved. Understanding the complexities and sensitivities of such cases, the firm offers expert guidance and personalized representation, ensuring your concerns are addressed and your rights are protected.

From securing protective orders to advocating for favorable custody and visitation arrangements, their experienced team is dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of you and your child. They recognize the importance of a nurturing and stable environment for children and work tirelessly to achieve it. For comprehensive support and detailed information on how they can assist you can reach out to the Law Office of Daniel Hutto at 602-833-0986  for a free initial consultation. 

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Daniel was really great! I did not work work him directly but the work he’s done for my best friend and her daughter, we are so grateful for! He was really dedicated, always available when she needed him, professional and well prepared. He helped my best friend get primary custody of her daughter which is never an easy matter and he did advised well and knew his stuff. Thank you Daniel!
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Daniel and Shannon are some of the best lawyers out here. I came to them with a very complex and all over the place case. I have called a few other lawyers prior to retaining Daniel and those offices pretty much turned me away. As soon as I told Daniel about my case they acted quickly to assist and made such movement that took me months to do on my own. I truly felt that Shannon and Daniel took my case to heart and their passion about it was amazing. Thank you so much for your help and guidance. If anyone is looking for aggressive but very passionate lawyers you need to stop playing and retain the office of Daniel hutto..
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