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What happens in a custody dispute when a parent is abusive?

Many parents in the McAllen area suffer some form of abuse at the hands of their spouses or significant others. When they finally have the courage to break off the relationship, one of their biggest concerns might be that the abusive parent will still have be able to have conservatorship, which is Texas’s term for child custody.

The fact that the abusive parent might also have ongoing access to the child may also be a cause of concern.

Texas limits the rights of abusive parents who are involved in custody disputes

Like other states, Texas law offers some protection to victims of abuse who are going through a child custody dispute. In all cases, when deciding which parent will make key decisions for a child, a judge must consider any evidence that one parent has committed domestic violence against the other parent.

In situations where physical violence is more recent, within two years before the custody action started, the law offers additional protection. Parents who are credibly accused may not be appointed as a managing conservator who will make decisions for the child.

Likewise, a parent accused of being abusive by default will not have unsupervised visits and may wind up not being allowed to see his or her children at all. The court may also mandate counseling.

Parents who are in this situation do have the option to try to convince the judge that, despite the allegations, they are safely able to be involved in their children’s lives.

Custody cases in which domestic violence is a question are difficult

Even with these legal protections, a victim of domestic violence may face a difficult custody battle. He or she will still have to gather evidence to prove his or her case even though the standard of proof is lower than, for example, in a criminal case.

On the other hand, it is an unfortunate fact that sometimes parents will make up or exaggerate allegations during a family law case. Parents on the receiving end of a false allegation will want to protect their rights zealously.

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