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Stephen Beroes, Elizabeth A. Beroes, Julie Elizabeth Beroes, and Shanice Williams
Stephen Beroes, Elizabeth A. Beroes, Julie Elizabeth Beroes, Shanice Williams

If I am a victim of domestic violence, what happens with custody?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2022 | Child Custody

Many Pittsburgh residents end their relationship and may choose to divorce if they are legally married because their romantic partner is violent and abusive.

One of the biggest fears these parents might have is that a Pennsylvania court will award custody or broad parenting time rights to the abusive parent.

The prospect of having to share one’s child with their abuser can cause emotional havoc for the victim of the violence.

Moreover, sharing custody and parenting time also means the victim has to deal with their abuser to some extent, which means the victim is at risk of more abuse.

Pennsylvania law offers some protections to victims of abuse

It is possible for an abusive parent to get custody or visits. Fortunately, Pennsylvania’s laws offer some protections for parents who are going through a custody case with an abusive parent.

If the other parent has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, including many that commonly get charged in domestic violence cases, then the court has to decide that the convicted parent is not going to pose a safety threat to the other members of the family.

The judge may order counseling for the convicted parent. In some cases, the judge may decide that no custody or parenting time for the convicted parent is the safest course.

Furthermore, the court must also consider any evidence of abuse when deciding on custody and parenting arrangements. When doing so, the court’s job is to make sure that the children involved are safe. There does not have to be a criminal charge in order for a court to consider allegations of abuse.

A victim may make their case to the judge hearing the custody case, but they will have to be sure to prepare their case carefully. The other parent might try to deny or fight back against the allegations, and a victim of abuse will want to do what they can to protect themselves and their children.