How Crime Can Affect Custody
A California domestic violence conviction will change your life in many ways. You could face jail time, probation, fees and fines, and be ordered to attend a counseling, therapy, drug and alcohol treatment, or anger management program. Among these penalties, the custody of your child may be affected as well. Even if you don't have custody, your visitation rights could be taken away or put under additional restrictions.
To understand how a domestic violence conviction can affect your custody or your rights to spend time with your child, you should first understand how California family law views domestic violence. Family law is different than criminal law, but criminal convictions can affect family law proceedings. In family law custody proceedings, the court views instances of domestic violence perpetrated in the last five years as potentially harmful to the child in question. This means that if someone who committed domestic violence against the child, the child's sibling, or the parent of the child is seeking custody of said child, the court believes it would not be in the best interest of the child for that person to be granted custody. The custody action can be for physical or legal custody, either sole or joint.
Even if you are not granted custody, this does not mean the court will not let you see your child altogether. Many people who have domestic violence convictions may still be able to see their child under certain circumstances. Domestic violence convictions may require that your visitation time with your child be supervised. The supervisor may come at a cost to you. After a certain period of time, the requirement for supervised visits may be lifted if the supervisor sees fit and you do not get into further trouble with the law.
Remember, domestic violence goes beyond just physical violence. Domestic violence is abuse against someone you are in or have been in an intimate relationship with. It can come in the form of physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse. Self-defense is not domestic violence, however, so you should speak with an attorney if you are facing domestic violence charges for an act of self-defense.
If you already have custody and are convicted of a domestic violence offense, your custody may be affected or taken away. At that point, you may be able to present evidence to the court to support your argument that it would be in the best interests of the child for you to have custody or visitation rights, but the odds may be stacked against you. You may have to hire a family law attorney, and it may cost you thousands of dollars to have them represent you throughout the action. Because of this, it is a good idea to speak with a criminal defense attorney before you are convicted of a domestic violence offense.
Domestic violence crimes can affect your eligibility for jobs, volunteer positions, housing opportunities, and even the custody of your children. If you have children and are facing domestic violence charges in California, you should speak with a domestic violence defense attorney immediately. If you do not want the custody of your child or your visitation rights to be affected, you should strategize a strong defense. Domestic violence accusations are sometimes false. They can be exaggerated. It is also not uncommon for acts of domestic violence to really be acts of self-defense, which is not the same thing. Unfortunately, men are more likely to be arrested in situations of mutual violence and may find themselves facing charges even if they acted legitimately in self-defense. If you are in any of these situations, speaking with an attorney is crucial. An attorney can evaluate your case and advise you on what you can do to defend your rights. Facing these kinds of charges is not easy, and when the custody of your child is on the line, you may need all the help you can get.
If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about domestic violence and custody, call experienced domestic violence defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we know how to prepare you to face your charges, giving you the best chance of a favorable outcome. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, attorney Martens is ready to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensL[email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.