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Convicted of Domestic Violence? How it could affect custody

Everyone makes poor choices at one time or another. If you have a domestic violence conviction, it's probably not something you're proud of. You love your kids and you want to be a part of their lives. But you're getting divorced and you worry: how will my domestic violence conviction affect my relationship with my kids? Will I be able to see them? Does it mean I have no chance at shared custody?

What you need to know

The family ccourts have one thing in mind: helping families. In the long run, the ccourts generally assume that a relationship with both parents is in the interest of the kids, and they will work hard to make sure that happens. Still, with a history of violence, there may be some road blocks initially. A lot depends on the circumstances of your case.

How long ago was the conviction? Have you completed all court-ordered conditions (for example have you completed court-ordered counseling or community service?) How many convictions do you have--was this a one-time incident or are there multiple occasions of domestic violence? Has your record been expunged?

These are all factors that can determine what kind of relationship you have, and how much time you spend, with your children. The good news is that ccourts generally try to work with offenders. If you have only one conviction and have satisfied the ccourts requirements, you may find the court amenable to shared custody. Even with multiple convictions, you may be able to get supervised visits with your kids. And if your record has been expunged, the court must disregard the conviction all together.

Many outcomes

There are as many outcomes as there are individuals. A good family law attorney is your best resource for your unique case. Even if you currently have a restraining order preventing you from contact, an attorney may be able to navigate a road back to seeing your kids. With therapy, a genuine desire to change and proof of better choices and skills, it may be possible to have the restraining order removed.

Rather than worry, take the time to sit down with a lawyer. Bring all your documents so that your attorney can give you realistic expectations. And take heart, as they say, in many cases, time can heal everything.

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