Impact of Domestic Violence

Family Law Attorneys Guiding Milwaukee Residents

A heated dispute between domestic partners or spouses may result in a lifetime of consequences for everyone involved. Domestic violence charges may affect the terms of a divorce, result in protective orders, and shape the nature of child custody or child support arrangements. In any of these circumstances, a child’s relationship with a parent may be gravely affected. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, Milwaukee family law lawyer Terese J. Singer can help you navigate these complexities in a way that protects your family’s interests and safety.

Domestic Violence and Protective Orders

If you have recently suffered from domestic violence by a spouse or family member, your first step should be to consider whether your immediate safety is at risk. If so, you may wish to apply for a temporary or permanent protective order in court. In Wisconsin, victims of domestic violence may get protective orders if they have a basis for fearing physical, emotional, or sexual harm from a family member or a spouse. Once obtained, these protective orders prevent the abuser from committing further domestic violence and require that the abuser keep away from the victim and sometimes the victim’s family members.

Impact on Child Custody Proceedings

When courts make a determination of where a child should be placed, and how much time should be spent with each parent, they consider “the best interests of the child.” While courts prefer joint custody when appropriate, a history of domestic violence may prevent courts from accepting a joint custody arrangement. When a court finds that a parent has a history of domestic violence, it may be concerned that placing a child with that parent is not in the child’s best interest and may grant primary custody to the non-abusive parent. If an isolated domestic violence incident occurred in the past, the court may proceed initially with visitation or supervised visitation to ensure that the parent may be trusted with the child.

Only in extreme circumstances will the court terminate the parental rights of a parent who has previously engaged in domestic violence. This will generally require extreme chronic abuse, abandonment, or severe neglect. Courts disfavor separating parents from children unless it is clearly in the child’s best interests. Otherwise, courts would prefer to have abusive behavior treated and remedied, and for parents to repair their relationships with their children.

Discuss a Family Law Proceeding with a Milwaukee Lawyer

If you have previously been a victim of domestic violence, there are steps that you can take in family court to protect your children and you from further abuse. You may seek a protective order from the court or move to limit your abuser’s access to your children during custody proceedings. Conversely, if you have previously been charged with domestic violence and have worked to repair your relationships, your history of past violence will not necessarily be devastating to your legal relationship with your children. If you have concerns about how domestic violence may affect a divorce or custody proceeding, you should speak with a Milwaukee family law attorney. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, child custody lawyer Terese J. Singer can advise you on how that history is likely to affect your rights and what may be done to protect your interests. We represent people in Mequon, Racine, West Bend, Waukesha, and other communities in Racine, Washington, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties. To set up a free consultation, contact our office online or at (414) 271-6400.