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Can a domestic violence accusation keep me from my children?

If you have been accused of domestic violence, can you be restricted from seeing your children? The answer to this question, unfortunately, is maybe. It will depend on the circumstances and a judge -- and often how the circumstances are presented to a judge.

Keep in mind that an accusation is not a conviction. Charges of domestic violence or child abuse are not always made in good faith, and they are not always truly depicted. If a judge determines that it is not in the best interests of the children for you to see them, they could restrict you from seeing them. They may also allow you to see them, but only under supervised conditions.

If you are convicted of domestic violence charges, are you automatically restricted from seeing your children? If you are convicted of domestic violence or child abuse, and it is a felony or a first degree misdemeanor, or you are sentenced to prison, this could be grounds for termination of your parental rights. However, it is not automatic, and the judge must decide if he or she believes that it is not in the children's best interest to any longer have a relationship with you.

Even if the judge does decide to terminate your parental rights, you have a right to appeal the decision and present evidence to the contrary. You can also request supervised visitation.

Prosecutors are very aggressive when it comes to domestic violence or child abuse. If you have been restricted from seeing your children, your attorney can appeal this decision and present your side of the case. You have rights, and it is not always in the best interests of the children to be ostracized from a parent, especially if the situation doesn't warrant it.

Source: WomensLaw.org, "Custody," accessed Aug. 14, 2015

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