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A domestic violence conviction can affect custody, visitation

Criminal charges in New York that are related to domestic violence are very serious, even when the charge is a misdemeanor and against a person without a criminal history.

Because society takes domestic violence so seriously, a person who gets convicted may find himself, or herself, facing all kinds of legal consequences he never imagined. These consequences can extend well beyond the possibility of jail time and probation. The can even last well after a case has been concluded and one's sentence served in full.

For instance, in New York, family law judges are required to consider evidence of domestic violence when making their custody and visitation decisions. This rule pertains to all criminal convictions for domestic violence, including those that did not involve the child in any respect.

Moreover, a separate provision mandates that courts may not award custody to a parent if, after a review of an allegation of domestic violence, the court decides that the parent might present what the law calls a substantial risk of harm to his or her children.

What this means is that moms and dads who are wanting custody and parenting time with their children may have a lot to lose, even more than the average person, should they be convicted of domestic violence.

Moreover, it is an unfortunate fact that, more than once, one parent has exaggerated or even fabricated an allegation of domestic violence in order to get an edge in a custody battle with the other parent.

For these and other reasons, someone who is facing any charge related to domestic violence should make sure he or she understands the available legal options and what the potential consequences with respect to each of them. An experienced criminal law attorney can be very helpful in this respect.

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