An allegation of violence against a child or the other spouse can have a fundamental impact on a child custody case in Georgia.
Divorce is difficult enough at the best of times. If you are trying to escape from an abusive spouse, the problems are often more acute.
In such cases, you may face hurdles not just from an abusive spouse but also from the judicial system. It can be difficult to convince judges that you are the victim of abuse.
In child custody cases, the courts seek to involve both parents in their children’s upbringings. However, an exception may be made in cases where there is an allegation of abuse.
Parenting plans are drawn up on the assumption that an act of violence has not been committed on the child or children. The most important standard used by the court is that of the best interests of the child. Evidence of allegations of domestic violence or child abuse is taken very seriously in these cases. The court could order an investigation into the claim by the appropriate family and social services agency before coming to a decision on custody and placement arrangements. The court may also order the following:
- That the investigation is paid for by the parent against whom the allegations were made;
- The investigator submits a written report directly to the judge;
- The investigator appears and testifies in the court where he or she can be cross-examined by both parents.
Under Georgia’s Family Violence Act, people suspected of committing domestic violence against children may be ordered to refrain from all contact with the child or to take part in supervised visitation while attending mandatory counseling.
If a divorce is filed at the same time or after the issuing of a protective order, the court reserves the right to change any custody and visitation ruling made in conjunction with the protective order.
Committing an act of violence is not an automatic bar to the awarding of visitation or parenting time but the court must believe there is no risk to the children of the divorce.
An allegation of violence is often an important factor in a family proceeding. If violence is a factor in your divorce, our Newnan family attorney can advise you of the options. Call us at (404) 913-1529.