Though Florida judges start from the position that both parents should have custody of their children, domestic violence immediately changes the calculation.
Domestic Violence Convictions and Child Custody
A conviction for domestic violence will cause the court to presume that it would be detrimental to the child to allow the convicted parent to share custody. It is important to note that the court will not take into account whether or not the child witnessed the violence. The presence of violence in the child’s home is enough to deny custody to the person who committed that violence.
In Florida, an array of behaviors are included under the definition of domestic violence. These behaviors include:
- Kidnapping (note that removing a child from a situation in which domestic violence is likely is not considered kidnapping)
- Sexual abuse
- Any offense by one household/family member that causes injury to or death of another
If Custody Is in Jeopardy, You Need a Defense Attorney
Here is something important to keep in mind: the state will always take an aggressive attitude toward pursuing a conviction in a domestic violence case. Working in the best interest of those who have suffered abuse—either directly or by proximity—is, after all, the state’s responsibility.
As a result, if you have been arrested for domestic violence—even if you truly believe the whole situation is a misunderstanding—you need to have a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side.
With issues of custody hanging in the balance, you want to be sure to have representation you can count on to build the strongest possible defense.
Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Hear You Out and Provide an Aggressive Defense
If you have been charged with domestic violence, it may seem as though everyone has abandoned you—but the attorneys of Flaherty & Merrifield Criminal Defense won’t judge you. Instead, we will defend you to the very best of our abilities. If you are facing the loss of custody of your children, you should reach out to us right away for a free consultation.