Domestic violence is a serious issue, and something which should not be taken lightly in child custody hearings. However, the mere accusation of domestic violence should not be enough to ruin someone’s life. In the interest of fathers’ rights, it is important that custody cases in which domestic violence has been alleged but not proven are treated fairly, and not used as grandstanding attempts by one party to receive sole custody of a child.
In the U.K., there’s a disturbing trend growing in which domestic violence orders are being used to obtain legal aid, thereby weaponizing the system against many fathers. When it comes to fathers’ rights, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Don’t let the courts use domestic violence charges against you.
What’s Happening in the U.K.?
According to the charity Families Need Fathers, the use of “non-molestation” orders, which are issued by courts to prevent domestic abuse, have risen a staggering 37% over the past 5 years. Non-molestation orders are issued based on a civil level of proof and a balancing or probabilities, and are usually granted to women. The problem, this new study speculates, is that the rise in these orders indicates an increase in false reporting, in which meritless domestic violence claims are being made solely for the purpose of securing legal aid.
The organization alleges that these claims are being abused in court proceedings by scorned parents to damage the other party’s chances in the courts. The end result, according to Families Need Fathers, is the eroding of child-parent relationships.
How Domestic Violence Affects Custody in the U.S.
Domestic violence claims play a key part in custody hearings here in the United States as well. Whether negotiating custody arrangements, spousal support, or visitation rights, judges almost always take domestic abuse allegations into account during family law proceedings.
This becomes an issue in cases where domestic abuse charges have been made, but there has not been a conviction. In some states, the mere charge of domestic violence is enough to prevent someone from seeing their child, whether or not a conviction was made. In these cases, where violence has been alleged but not proven, the court may be unfairly swayed to make custodial decisions, regardless of the merit of a domestic abuse claim. Pro bono organizations in these cases will fight for the party alleging domestic abuse, but who will fight for the party who has been accused unfairly?
Domestic abuse charges shouldn’t necessarily prevent you from seeing your child. If you have been unfairly accused of domestic abuse, without being convicted of a crime, you should consider hiring an attorney to fight for you.
Are you a parent worried that a domestic abuse charge may ruin your chance to see your child? Need someone to fight for your rights as a father in court? Call Peter L. Cedeño & Associates, P.C. at (212) 235-1382 or contact us online today. We have 20 years of experience handling divorces across New York, and will stay in close contact with you to address any concerns you may have throughout your case.