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How Domestic Violence Charges Affect Child Custody

Madson Castello Law April 12, 2023

According to statistics from the Crime in Texas report, there were 231,207 total-reported family violence incidents statewide in 2021. A person may be arrested and charged with domestic violence in Texas for assaulting, abusing, or acting violently toward a family or household member.  

Witnessing or experiencing incidents of violence or abuse in the home can have astronomically negative impacts on children. Likewise, having a domestic violence charge on your record can influence a judge to deny you child custody or access to your children altogether. 

At Madson Castello Law, we're committed to offering experienced legal services and protecting individuals wrongfully charged with domestic violence from the worst possible consequences. Our devoted Texas criminal defense attorneys can enlighten you about the impact of a domestic violence charge on child custody and outline a solid defense strategy to help fight your accusations. We're proud to serve clients across Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, McKinney, and throughout North Texas. 

Factors Considered in Determining Child Custody in Texas

In a contested divorce involving minor children, the family court is often called upon to help determine child custody. In Texas, the court will consider any history of domestic violence, among other factors, in order to award custody, conservatorship, and access to the child. The following are some of the factors that are considered to determine custody based on the child's best interests and welfare:   

  • the child's reasonable preference 

  • each parent's physical health, mental health, and moral fitness 

  • the parenting abilities of each parent 

  • the current and future emotional and physical needs of the child 

  • the ability of each parent to meet the child's needs 

  • each parent's ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child 

  • each parent's willingness to establish a relationship between the child and the other parent 

  • any history or evidence of domestic violence, neglect, or abuse that indicates parental unfitness 

  • the available programs to assist the parents in promoting the child's best interest 

Ultimately, the Texas court can deny or revoke custody to the abusive parent if there is significant evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect. If you’re concerned about your rights in a child custody case, a reliable Texas family violence defense lawyer can walk you through how any domestic violence charges might affect your outcome. 

How Does a Domestic Violence Charge Affect Custody?

As previously mentioned, child custody is usually awarded based on the best interests of the child. In case there is substantial evidence or history of domestic violence, the judge will consider the factors below to make a decision: 

  • any physical evidence of domestic violence or abuse 

  • police report documenting the family violence 

  • how the family violence incident affected the child 

  • whether the domestic violence was directed at the child 

  • the severity and frequency of the family violence 

  • whether the alleged abuser continues to pose a danger to the child or the other parent 

  • whether the abusive parent has an ongoing criminal charge against them 

If the judge reviews the available evidence and decides that awarding custody to you may not be in the child's best interests, you may be denied both child custody and parenting time. 

How Does a Domestic Violence Charge Affect Visitation?

Additionally, a history of family violence, child abuse, assault, or sexual abuse can affect the abusive parent's access to the child (parenting time or visitation). Nonetheless, parenting time may still be awarded if the court determines that: 

  • The abusive parent's access to the child is in the child's best interests. 

  • The visitation will not endanger the child's physical and emotional health. 

  • There is an established visitation order to protect the child. 

  • The abusive parent will complete a treatment program and have their visitation supervised. 

What's more, the abusive parent may be able to seek supervised visitation if they can prove to the judge that there is no possibility of abuse and that the child would be safe when with the parent. If the court awards supervised visitation, a designated adult must be present anytime the abusive parent is with the child. 

Turn to Reliable Representation   

When trying to establish child custody with a domestic violence record, hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is imperative for proper guidance and advocacy. 

With 30 years of combined criminal law experience, we have the expertise and diligence to advise and guide clients through the complex procedures involved in establishing conservatorship and child visitation. Our skilled attorneys will investigate every detail of your case, dispute the accusations against you with factual evidence, and help convince the court that you're fit to care for and visit your child. 

Contact us at Madson Castello Law today to schedule an initial consultation with trusted family violence defense attorneys. Our dedicated team can offer you the strong representation and advocacy you need in your case. We're proud to serve clients across Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, McKinney, and throughout North Texas. 


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