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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore County Family Lawyer Discusses Child Custody and Domestic Violence

Written by Amar Weisman » March 11, 2016 »

Thousands of domestic violence incidents have been reported to local law enforcement in Maryland in recent years. Still, numerous domestic violence incidents are not being reported. Violence in the home is never a good situation, and it can be even more devastating when there are children involved.

Dealing with family matters after a separation and/or divorce can be troublesome without the added issue of domestic violence. However, any Towson domestic violence attorney will tell you that separating or divorcing parents who are dealing with violence in the home will likely face a number of complications when it comes to resolving child custody issues.

Things to Consider

Maryland courts are permitted to take domestic abuse issues into account when attempting to resolve child custody issues. Under the law, domestic violence is defined as abuse against a spouse, child or parent in the home. Abuse includes not only assaults upon another individual, but also any acts that threaten or cause serious bodily harm, stalking, false imprisonment and all sex crimes.

The impact of violence in the home on child custody issues can be quite serious. For instance, when a custody case is initiated, each parent is required to tell the judge of the existence of any proceedings related to protective orders, termination of parental rights for another child or domestic violence. Until the court obtains this information, it will not move forward with awarding custody.

If the judge learns that a parent has committed domestic abuse, he or she will not grant that parent unsupervised visitation or custody unless it is unlikely that the parent will commit abuse in the future. A judge can grant supervised visitation if he or she believes the child will be safe. Supervised visitation scenarios generally include the parent, the child and a third party who will oversee the visit.

The court may set certain restrictions on visitation based on the specifics of the case. Please note, however, courts will not grant unsupervised visitation (or custody) to a parent who has been convicted of murdering the other parent. Still, a judge may decide to grant supervised visitation to a parent – even if he or she has been convicted of murdering the other parent IF the judge believes it to be in the best interest of the child AND the child will be protected.

In very serious cases, a court can order a parent’s rights to be terminated. This can be done in cases where the court deems a parent to be unfit to take care of the child and it would be in the child’s best interest for the parental-child relationship to be severed. Situations that may lead to the termination of parental rights include chronic abuse and/or life-threatening neglect of a child, torture of the child and sexual abuse, among other things.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.