How Does Domestic Violence Affect Custody Determinations in Texas?
Domestic violence can have serious consequences on child custody
Domestic violence is a common occurrence in Texas and the United States. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, domestic violence affects millions of people in the United States ever year. Due to the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States, Texas courts are required to consider evidence of this type of behavior when making child custody determinations . Specifically, courts in Texas are required to examine domestic violence if directed against a party’s spouse, a parent of the child in question, or any other minor if committed within two years prior to the filing of the custody suit. Needless to say, a history of domestic violence doesn’t typically bode well for the offending party in a child custody suit. However, the starting point for all child custody determinations in Texas is an examination of what is in the best interests of the child. When making a best interests determination, courts examine a number of factors, including:
The child’s relationship with each parent;
The mental and physical health of both parents and the child;
The parents’ wishes;
The child’s wishes; and
The stability of each parental household.
Since domestic violence impacts each of these factors, the court will consider it during its examination of each factor. In addition to the best interests review, there are certain circumstances under which the court can’t allow a parent access to his or her child. Specifically, the court must forbid parental access to a child when:
1) The parent has demonstrated a pattern of familial violence in the two-year period prior to the lawsuit; or
2) The parent has engaged in conduct forbidden by specific sections of the Texas Penal Code that resulted in pregnancy.
Our Fort Worth child custody lawyers are here to help you and your family
Texas takes domestic violence very seriously, and a history of domestic violence can have a big impact on child custody determinations. And as is noted above, every decision regarding child custody is based on one primary question: is this in the child’s best interest? Unfortunately, however, each parent involved in a custody dispute often has a different answer to this question. At the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker , our experienced Fort Worth child custody lawyers always make sure that your voice is heard and that your relationship with your child is protected during your child custody case. With more than 20 years of experience, we understand what it takes to protect your relationship with your child. If you are involved in a child custody case in Texas, please call 817-332-7703, or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Fort Worth child custody lawyers.