Can a Domestic Violence Conviction Affect Your Parental Rights?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

As we have discussed before, there are several collateral consequences that can come with a domestic violence conviction. Outside of jail time, the impact these convictions could have on your child custody rights are some of the most severe consequences you can face.

When it comes to state law regarding domestic violence penalties, there is no mention of any impact on child custody rights. Despite that, these consequences are real. A domestic violence conviction could have an effect in existing custody hearings or lead to new ones.

It is important to understand these potential consequences if you are facing allegations of domestic abuse. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can advise you of your rights and help you fight back against these collateral consequences.

How a Domestic Violence Conviction Could Change Your Custody Situation

There is no guarantee that a single conviction for domestic violence will cost you custody of your children. You can expect a conviction to impact a divorce case where the custody of your children is involved. The courts overseeing your case will consider any domestic violence conviction in the preceding five years before making a decision on custody.

Before a judge can award a person with a domestic violence conviction custody of a child, they must make a finding that they do not pose a threat to the child's well-being. When the court determines it is not in the best interest of the child to award custody, they could still order supervised visitation for a parent convicted of domestic violence.

Supervised visitation allows a parent the opportunity to visit with their children, but only in the presence of a third-party designated by the court. Typically this is an employee of a state agency. In some cases, supervised visitation is only required for a short period of time before the court grants a degree of custody. In other cases, supervised visitation can be a long-term requirement that lasts until a judge decides it is no longer necessary. This requires proving to the court that you are not a risk to the safety of your child.

Terminated Parental Rights

In severe cases, a domestic violence conviction could lead the court to terminate parental rights entirely. This is an uncommon step most judges only use as a last resort. These decisions are final, meaning the judge cannot undo their decision after the order is entered. For a domestic violence conviction to lead to termination of your parental rights, there must be strong evidence showing any type of relationship with the child to be harmful. This typically involves serious violent offenses against the child or their parent.

Let Attorney Joseph D. Lento Fight For Your Rights

While there are steps you can take to protect your parental rights following a conviction, your best bet is to avoid a conviction entirely. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you build a defense strategy to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. To protect your parental rights following an arrest for domestic violence, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento as soon as possible at 888-535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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