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When does domestic violence affect custody in California?

If you have a domestic violence charge or conviction under your belt, you may wonder how said charge or conviction will affect your California custody case. Does the charge or conviction mean you will receive less custody of your child? Unfortunately, according to The Judicial Branch of California, the answer is likely yes.

According to the California Courts, a family judge must first decide if domestic violence is an issue with your case. If it is, the judge must abide by special rules when deciding the custody of your child. There are two instances in which a judge might treat your case as a domestic violence case. The first is if, in the last five years, a court convicted you of domestic violence against the other parent. The second is if, in the last five years, any court decided that you committed domestic violence against the other parent or a child.  

If a judge decides that your case is a domestic violence case, he or she cannot legally grant you joint or sole custody. Rather, he or she can only consider giving you visitation rights. , a judge may be able to grant you custodial rights if you can do any of the following:

  •       Prove that your having sole or joint custody is in your child's best interests
  •       Successfully complete a 52-week batterer intervention program
  •       Successfully complete a court-ordered parenting program
  •       Successfully complete a court-ordered substance abuse course
  •       Comply with the terms of your parole or probation
  •       Comply with the orders of your restraining order

In addition to meeting one, some or all of the above conditions, you must also refrain from committing any future acts of domestic violence.

This content is for informational purposes only. It should not be used as legal advice.


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