Lengthy child custody and visitation cases often drain your financial and emotional resources and have long-term affects on the children involved. Before tackling this very difficult issue, seek the advice and guidance of a California family law attorney well versed in child custody and visitation law.
A Skilled, Focused Divorce Lawyer in North Orange County
Attorney Brenda McCune is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a family law specialist, and she has lived in the North Orange County community all of her life. When you need an experienced family law and divorce attorney with an exceptional understanding of family law issues and an excellent reputation among her peers, you can turn to Brenda McCune. To request a free consultation, contact our office in Brea by e-mail or phone at 714.660.2296 or 888.841.3203 (Toll Free) for a prompt response.
The information here is provided as a courtesy of The Law Office of Brenda Lynn McCune and constitutes a brief summary of some general issues in California divorce.
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The Law Office of Brenda Lynn McCune provides counsel and representation for people facing or considering divorce in Orange County, California, and nearby communities in Los Angeles County. Our family law practice encompasses divorce, child custody, child support, property division, paternity, domestic violence, and the need for modifications of orders after divorce.
California board-certified family law specialist Brenda McCune provides honest, determined counsel for men and women in communities such as Brea, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Anaheim, La Habra, La Mirada, Placentia, Orange, Tustin, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Diamond Bar, Irvine and Long Beach.
Domestic Violence and Child Custody
Even though California is a no-fault state for dissolution of marriage, evidence of domestic violence in a marriage can play a major role in decisions regarding the children of the parties.
Domestic Violence Defined
Domestic violence is an issue that defies a clear-cut definition. One organization, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, defines domestic violence as "a dynamic between parents whereby one partner seeks to control the other through the use of abusive patterns of behavior that operate at a variety of levels of emotional, psychological, and physical." The Council further states that "the presence of this abusive dynamic will always be relevant to the question of what custody or visitation arrangement will serve the best interests of any children shared by the adult parties."
Presumption against Joint Custody
Most states have adopted the position that the presence of domestic violence has relevance in custody determinations. Many states, including California, have passed laws creating a presumption against awarding sole or joint custody to a parent who has committed domestic violence against the other parent. Unless the presumption is successfully rebutted, an award of custody to the abusing spouse is considered detrimental to the best interests of the children, and custody will not be awarded to that parent.
Evidence that Rebuts the Presumption
It is possible to overcome the presumption against an award of sole or joint custody to those who have committed domestic violence. Evidence, such as the following, may be presented to overcome the presumption
- Successful completion of a batterers' treatment program
- Successful completion of a drug or alcohol program
- Successful completion of a parenting class
- Successful completion of the terms and conditions of probation or parole
- Compliance with the terms of any protective order or restraining order
- Evidence that the parent has not committed any further acts of domestic violence
The law in many states provides that custody should be denied to perpetrators of domestic violence, however many questions remain. What actions constitute domestic violence? What if both parties have committed domestic violence? What if there was only a single incident of domestic violence? Has actual emotional or psychological harm been done to the children as a result of the violence? Will the children be protected by a denial of custody to the violent parent? What is the impact of children growing up with little contact with one of their parents? Until we answer these and many more questions regarding domestic violence, the issue of domestic violence and custody will remain unsettled.
Domestic violence can have a major impact on custody and visitation awards. While the law recognizes that evidence of domestic violence between the parties must be considered in custody determinations, there continues to be controversy over how to resolve such custody disputes. If the issue of domestic violence has arisen in your case, you need the guidance and assistance of a family law attorney experienced in handling such matters in California. Contact the lawyers at The Law Office of Brenda McCune in Brea.
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