Domestic Violence as a Factor in Custody

Domestic Violence as a Factor in Custody

Domestic violence is a factor to be considered by the court in New York child custody and visitation proceedings, regardless of whether the violent behavior occurred in the presence of the child or the child was a direct victim of the violence.

If this is an issue in your custody case, it is imperative that you obtain legal counsel that can handle both the family law as well as possible criminal aspects involved. Divorce lawyer Ingrid Gherman has experience and knowledge in cases of this sort heard within New York City vicinity family and supreme courts. She can also help you obtain the assistance of an equally experienced criminal attorney, should that be necessary. To find out more about how to go forward should you be facing these issues, contact the law office of Ingrid Gherman to schedule a consultation at (212) 941-0767 or send the on-line form.

The law requires police officers and district attorneys who investigate a family related offense to provide the victim with a notice in writing which refers to domestic violence as follows:

In the event that you are a victim of abuse or violent behavior in the home or by a family member, you can request assistance from the officer in obtaining provisions for your own safety and for the safety of your child or children, including providing information on how to obtain a temporary order of protection. You can also request assistance from the police officer in getting your needed personal belongings and finding and transporting you and your children to safe housing in the jurisdiction of the officer, including to a programs set up to assist victims of violent abuse by a member of the family, or to the residence of a friend or family member or another safe place.

The family court or the criminal court locally can provide you with the forms needed to get an order of protection. There are resources and programs available in the community which provides information about this problem including treating injuries and finding safe housing or shelters. These resources can be accessed by contacting the New York State Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-942-6906 or at For a listing of other hotlines by county, go to the NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence Website New York State Domestic Violence Programs County Listing.

Parents involved in bitterly contested divorces often expose children to a violent home environment without realizing the lasting impact it can have on children. As a result, children experience shock, fear, and guilt and suffer anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms, low self-esteem, and developmental and socialization difficulties. Also, children raised by violent parents will face increased risk of abuse. A high correlation has been found between spouse abuse and child abuse. A study of children in shelters for victims of domestic violence shows higher rates of child abuse in homes where a spouse has been battered.

Violent and abusive behavior by one family member towards another does not stop when there is separation or divorce. Studies show, in fact, that frequently it can escalate and intensify upon the dissolution of a marriage. Therefore, at the time the court must determine the custody and visitation of children; great consideration should be given to the corrosive impact of this kind of family dynamic and the increased danger to the family upon divorce and into the foreseeable future.

In New York, where allegations of domestic abuse or violence have been proven through a preponderance of evidence, the courts are required to consider its effect on the children and what is in their best interest.

Is violent behavior affecting your family during or after your divorce or separation where custody of the children is involved? Contact a family law attorney who can help. Call Ingrid Gherman at (212) 941-0767 or submit the convenient on-line form describing your situation to arrange a consultation.