Domestic violence is one of the main factors a judge will consider in making decisions in cases regarding children. If the court finds domestic violence has occurred between parties who share children, there is a presumption (against the abuser) that joint legal decision making(formerly custody) is not in the best interest of the children. There are different types of evidence a court will consider as evidence that domestic violence has occurred: orders of protection, police reports, criminal charges, criminal convictions, photographs and witness testimony.
Whether you are a victim or you are the accused abuser, the court’s primary goal is to ensure the safety and emotional well-being of your children. Assuming that domestic violence has been proven to a judge, the judge will put a plan into place that (a) protects the children and (b) addresses damage from past abuse. Once that plan is implemented, the court’s next priority will be to facilitate a healthy, functional relationship between both parents and their children. In some cases, the court’s promotion of such a relationship will require counseling, therapeutic intervention, therapy, supervised visits or a graduated parenting time plan.
In many cases, domestic violence and orders of protection go hand in hand. In real cases of domestic violence, an order of protection is a useful tool and places restrictions upon contact between the abuser and the individuals affected by that abuse. Violation of a valid order of protection might result in criminal charges being filed, further complicating the family law matter.
Unfortunately, there are some cases when a party unjustifiably obtains an order of protection against the other party. An unfounded order of protection could result in a person being ousted from his or her home without warning, as well as a prohibition preventing that person from having contact with the children. In that case, it is probably in the best interest of the accused to challenge the order of protection by requesting a hearing.
You should know that if you are the recipient of an unfounded order of protection and request a hearing, losing that hearing could result in serious consequences not only to your family, but also to your right to bear arms. Therefore, if you request a hearing, you should be fully informed and prepared as to the evidence the court will consider at the hearing. We can help prepare you for the order of protection hearing and represent your interests at that hearing.