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A domestic violence conviction impacts child custody

| Dec 15, 2020 | criminal defense |

Even if it is a misdemeanor and a first-time offense, a conviction related to domestic violence in Maryland can have far-reaching consequences beyond a short stint jail or probation.

Those convicted of such crimes may have a hard time finding a job or working in their profession of choice. They also may find their right to own or carry a firearm limited, and they may also have a hard time adopting or fostering children if they are so inclined.

Maryland judges may prohibit custody or parenting time for accused parents

In fact, Maryland’s family law courts have the option to prohibit a parent convicted of domestic violence from having custody or even seeing his children if the offense involves the child.

A conviction related to any type of child abuse would probably mean that the accused parent would have to convince the judge that there was little to no chance that her behavior would be repeated. Otherwise, supervised visits are the only option for the parent.

Likewise, a separate law requires that a judge hearing any evidence of domestic violence, including actions against a spouse or other person, when making custody and parenting time decisions.

If the judge believes that domestic violence occurred, her custody and parenting time order will be designed to protect the children and the victims, even if that means a parent winds up with little or no involvement in the child’s life. This rule applies even if the child did not actually witness domestic violence.

In short, a Marylander who is a parent and who is accused of domestic violence will need to carefully evaluate his legal options, since a conviction could affect his ability to have a relationship with his children for years.

 

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