Domestic violence and child custody
If there's a history of domestic violence in a family, judges use special laws to help protect children when making decisions about child custody.
Domestic violence can be emotional, financial, or physical
Under the law, domestic violence can be emotional, financial, or physical. It can happen anywhere, including online. Abuse can happen in different ways, including someone stopping you from getting money or basic needs, or isolating you from friends or family.
There are two types of child custody
- Physical custody: The person that the child lives with on a regular basis.
- Legal custody: The right for a person to make important decisions about the child’s health care, education, and welfare.
For both types of custody, parents can share custody (joint custody) or one parent can have full custody (sole custody). A judge grants custody based on what's in the best interest of a child.
Judges must use a special law to decide on child custody in domestic violence cases
If there's been domestic violence in your family, special laws apply when a judge makes a decision about who gets custody of your children. Which law applies depends on when the domestic violence happened and if a court was involved.