How Does Domestic Violence Affect Custody Determinations in Tennessee?
Tennessee family law courts take domestic violence seriously and understand how it can impact the entire family. Domestic violence is one of several factors that a Tennessee family law court can consider when awarding child custody. The legal standard Tennessee family courts use is the best interest of the child.
Factors involved in domestic violence
A history of domestic violence can have an adverse effect on a parent trying to seek child custody. However, the court will weigh several factors when weighing how much domestic violence should affect the outcome. Some factors the court may consider include:
- The frequency of domestic violence
- The identity of the victim
- The seriousness of the violence
- The age of the victim
- The proximity of abuse to the child
- How long ago the domestic violence occurred
A single incident of domestic violence may not necessarily result in a loss of custody. The courts consider how domestic violence affects the child involved. If the court believes that the child would be in danger with the parent, it will not award custody to the parent with the history of domestic violence.
Orders of protection
Tennessee law allows a victim of domestic violence to ask for an order of protection against his or her abuser. The victim can include his or her children on the petition for an order of protection when the domestic violence concerns the children. If an order of protection is granted against the alleged abuser, the order may temporarily prevent contact between him or her and the children named on the order of protection. This order stands until a more permanent order is made.
Potential consequences on child custody
If the court determines that domestic violence is relevant to the child custody determination, the domestic violence may impact the case. The other parent may be awarded primary custody. This can result in the non-custodial parent not having any input in major decisions affecting the child’s life, including his or her choice of residence, education, religious upbringing and extracurricular activities. The parent may have a parenting plan imposed that severely limits his or her ability to be an active participant in the child’s life. In some cases, the court may order supervised visitation. This visitation can only occur in front of another adult. This arrangement may remain in place until the parent can establish that traditional visitation is in the best interests of the child.
Contact our experienced Murfreesboro child custody attorneys
At Dotson & Taylor Attorneys at Law, our Murfreesboro child custody have worked on numerous cases involving child custody when there is a history of domestic violence. We have a strong understanding of Tennessee family law and how a criminal history may impact child custody decisions. We take steps to maximize your interests and fight for as much time with your children as possible. We offer flexible appointments and a free initial consultation. Call us at (615) 890-1982 or contact us online to set up a free case review.