If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, the outcome of your case can have an impact on any pending or future child custody matters. The mere fact of your being charged can also have an impact as well.
In Colorado, any time an incident of domestic violence occurs and a child is present, the defendant also will be charged with a count of Child Abuse due to the child being placed in that situation – regardless of whether any harm or physical contact actually was inflicted on the child. However, even if the child was not present during the dispute, the outcome of the criminal case can impact a domestic case currently pending or to be filed later.
Domestic violence charges can be considered by a domestic court in making determinations as to child custody; those charged with domestic violence may be denied custody rights or have their custody rights limited. In states following the Model Code on Domestic and Family Violence, there is a presumption that it’s not in child’s best interests to grant sole or joint custody to a parent charged with domestic violence. However, the successful completion of domestic violence classes or even substance abuse treatment can rebut that presumption. Domestic violence charges are by no means the sole factor a court will consider in making custody determinations, but they remain a serious factor worth considering.
If you have been charged with domestic violence and have children who are or could be the subject of a custody dispute, it is of the utmost importance to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney specializing in domestic violence matters to ensure your case has an optimal outcome and minimally impacts your custody dispute.
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.