The Impact of Allegations of Domestic Violence in a Texas Divorce Case

If you have been the victim of domestic abuse and finally decided to get out of your marriage, you may have legitimate concerns about the potential for further abuse, or even the physical abuse of your children. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for a spouse to make unfounded allegations of domestic violence in an attempt to obtain an advantage in divorce proceedings. This blog post provides an overview of how the Texas courts will address allegations of domestic violence in determining the outcome of an action for divorce.

At the law office of Len Conner & Associates, P.C., we focus our practice exclusively on divorce and family law matters, including domestic violence proceedings. We offer a free initial consultation to every new client. To schedule a meeting, contact our office online or call us at (972) 445-1500 or (817) 288-4168 if you’re in the Dallas / Fort Worth Area. Call us toll free at 1 (877) 613-5800

How Allegations of Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody Determinations

An allegation of domestic abuse has the potential to have the greatest impact on child custody and visitation rulings. In Texas, the family court must, by law, consider all domestic violence concerns before awarding child custody (now known as “managing conservatorship” in Texas). If you have been charged with domestic violence, the court has the authority to deny custody, and to place significant limits on your right to access or possession of your minor child. The court will carefully review the allegations to ensure that they have merit, and will not curtail custody or visitation if the evidence indicates that the allegations have been made in an attempt to punish an ex-spouse, or to curry favor in a custody or visitation hearing.

As in other states, the courts in Texas always seek to give priority to what is determined to be in the best interests of the minor children. The factors evaluated by the court in making this decision may include documented history of spousal or child abuse, as well as other concerns, such as:

  • The respective stability of each household
  • The mental health of each parent
  • Any personal behaviors of each parent that may negatively affect the child (substance abuse, gambling, sexual promiscuity)

In Texas, the courts follow a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests of a child to grant custody to a parent who has committed domestic violence. This presumption will be enforced, even if you negotiated or mediated a joint custody agreement, if the court determines that the history or threat of domestic violence influenced a parent’s decision to enter into such an agreement.

Contact the Law Office of Len Conner & Associates

We offer a free initial consultation in all family law matters. Send us an e-mail or call our office at (972) 445-1500 or (817) 288-4168 if you’re in the Dallas / Fort Worth Area. Call us toll free at 1 (877) 613-5800 for an appointment.

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