Child custody is one of the most sensitive parts of most people’s divorces in California, especially if there was domestic abuse at any point during the marriage. Even if your spouse was only abusive towards you and not your child, it is still understandable that you would have concerns for the safety of your child, and it is definitely something you would want the court to consider during custody proceedings.

The court can decide for you

 When both parents cannot agree on a parenting plan for the child, the court will make a decision based on what it deems to be in the child’s best interests. For this reason, it is important that you make all information about the marriage, including any abuse, available to the court at the time you file for divorce.

How a parenting plan can help

 If you are able to engage in a reasonable mediation process with your spouse, the California Courts have stated that you may address any past domestic violence at this time, and incorporate such considerations in your parenting plan. For example, you can address whether you are okay with the child being picked up or dropped off places without your supervision, and where child exchanges can safely take place.

Make sure to voice any concerns about your child being alone with the other parent, as it may be possible to arrange for supervised visitation. Bear in mind that if there was domestic abuse at any point, you do not need to meet directly with the other parent, but can do so through a court-appointed recommending counselor or mediator.

This is an informative article and should not be taken as legal advice.