How Domestic Violence Charges Can Impact Future Custody Arrangements

In 2019, 105,298 crimes of domestic violence were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies resulting in 66,069 arrests, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families. This number has only increased during COVID-19 lockdowns due to increased stress and isolation. If you have been accused of domestic violence, it can be incredibly frustrating and, when you have children to consider, the charges can have even more serious consequences.

In this brief article, a domestic violence defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm shares the impact a domestic violence charge can have on your family and potential custody arrangements, as well as the best way to defend yourself against these serious charges.

Related: How a Domestic Violence Conviction Can Turn Your Life Upside Down

Can False Accusations of Domestic Violence Result in Custody Issues Later?

Domestic violence accusations and charges are typically brought up in a custody proceeding. However, whether or not they result in automatic changes to a custody agreement or future custody challenge is up to the jurisdiction and the specific judge in the case.

In Florida, custody decisions begin with the presumption that both parents should share custody unless it would be detrimental to the child. However, that changes if a parent has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge or worse because the courts then presume that it would be detrimental to the child to give that parent custody. The parent who is charged or convicted with domestic violence then has the burden of proof to the court that he or she should share custody and visitation with the other parent.

A judge will examine the domestic violence charges and will take into account several factors, including:

  • whether the child or children were present or involved in the incident;
  • if drugs or alcohol were involved;
  • if charges were dropped or dismissed; and
  • the psychological impact that domestic violence had on the child or children

This is handled through family court; however, domestic violence is handled in criminal court proceedings. For this reason, it’s crucial to defend yourself and clear your name of domestic violence charges, especially if you plan to maintain or gain custody of your child or children.

Related: Frequently Asked Questions Related to Domestic Violence

How to Defend Against False Accusations of Domestic Violence

Even if you have been falsely accused, Florida law stipulates, “It is the intent of the Legislature that domestic violence be treated as a criminal act rather than a private matter.” Essentially, the prosecution has the right to pursue a more severe charge, like an aggravated assault charge, as it will result in a felony and more severe penalty.

The first step in navigating the murky and often confusing waters of domestic violence charges is to contact a domestic violence defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. It is possible to overcome a false domestic violence charge; however, you will likely be facing an uphill battle which an attorney can help you through. It’s important to deal with the charges of domestic violence before ever entering family court to seek custody of your children.

For example, in order to protect your rights, you will need to file a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. This may result in mutual restraining orders. And while you may then undergo intense investigation, you must never divulge information to opposing counsel, police, or the accuser that can be twisted and used against you.

If you have been arrested on a charge of domestic violence, we cannot stress enough the importance of immediately hiring a domestic violence defense attorney in Tampa. We have years of experience working with cases just like yours, a unique understanding of how domestic violence cases are prosecuted, and will be able to pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome. Our attorneys will not only look into the event, but will also examine the arrest to determine if your rights were violated.

For a free consultation with a domestic violence defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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