How Family Abuse Affects Child Custody in Texas

How Family Abuse Affects Child Custody in Texas

Family violence is as prevalent in Plano as it is anywhere else in Texas, and the nation. While emotional and physical abuse occurs behind closed doors where others may never witness it, family violence usually comes to light during divorce and child custody proceedings.

2012 Statistics from the Texas Council on Family Violence:

  • 114 women were killed
  • There were 188,992 domestic violence incidents
  • 11,994 adults and 14,534 children were sheltered
  • A total of 191,301 hotline calls were answered

Any history of spousal abuse or child abuse, also known as “family violence” can have a permanent effect on child custody proceedings. Depending on the severity of the abuse, the abuser may end up with limited visitation, or in extreme cases he or she may lose their parental rights altogether.

When Protective Orders are Appropriate

Family violence occurs when a family member is violent against another family member, or when they are emotionally abusive, or threaten to hurt another household member. In situations where the family abuse is ongoing, or where the victim is at risk of future abuse, a protective order may be appropriate.

When Custody is Not Yet Decided

If a divorce case has been filed and child custody has not been decided, the court will look to see if one parent has a history of family abuse, and whether a protective order has been granted within the past two years.

In Texas, even one episode of domestic violence can be deemed a “history” of abuse, and affect a parent’s custody and visitation rights with their children.

How Domestic Violence Affects Custody Decisions

Under Texas law, if there has been a history or a pattern of physical or sexual abuse by one parent or spouse, the law prohibits the court from allowing the abuser to be a joint conservator.

Additionally, Texas law prohibits an abuser to have possession of a child if he or she has a history of family violence within the previous two years, or if they have sexually or physically abused their child.

Even with a history of domestic violence, an abusive parent may still have custody rights and access to their children if the court finds that:

  • The child is not in danger of being harmed.
  • It would be in the child’s best interests.
  • There is a visitation order to protect the child.
  • The abusive parent will have supervised visitation.
  • The abusive parent is required to complete a treatment program.

It is uncommon for an abusive parent to have their parental rights completely terminated, but it can happen in severe cases of abuse. For instance, if an abusive parent severely injured their child in the past.

If you are getting a divorce and family violence is a factor, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC for legal advice. As one of Plano’s top-rated law firms, your case is in very good hands!