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How abuse impacts a child custody case

Each year, 3 million children throughout Maryland and the rest of the country will witness an act of domestic violence. If either a child or adult is abused, it could be used as grounds for divorce. A court will then need to decide whether the abuser or the victim will have custody of the child. Ultimately, the court will need to do what it feels is in the best interests of the child.

A judge will focus on several different factors when making his or her decision. Those factors will usually include whether the abuse was directed at the child or if a parent poses a danger to the child. Other factors such as whether there is strong evidence of abuse or a pending case against an alleged abuser will be taken into consideration as well. Those who have committed domestic abuse multiple times in the past are generally considered more likely to do so again in the future.

In some cases, an abuser will lose custody as well as have his or her visitation rights restricted. This could mean that a parent is only allowed to be with a child while supervised by a court official or other third party. Parents could also be ordered to take part in anger management or parenting courses as part of a revised visitation order.

Individuals who are victims of spousal abuse may have legal recourse to keep themselves and their children safe. For instance, it may be possible to get a restraining order against an abusive spouse or partner. In some cases, a judge may terminate an abusive parent's right to be around the child. In such a scenario, that person would still likely be ordered to pay child support.

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