When it comes to custody cases, the judge will consider what's best for the child(ren) first and foremost. For families that break apart due to domestic violence, there are additional requirements the parents will need to adhere to before they head into court to discuss the custody case in front of a judge. Here are several things that may be required of parents in a custody legal battle when there is a history of domestic violence in the home.
Children & Youth Protective Services Investigation
In most states, any time there is an arrest for domestic violence in a home where children reside, there will be an investigation done by the county's children and youth protective services agency. A caseworker will be assigned to the case and will conduct a thorough investigation and inspection of the home, the parent who remains in the home, and the children. After this is complete, the caseworker will give his or her professional assessment in documentation to the judge, the attorneys, and the parent providing care for the children. The key purpose of this is to make sure the child(ren) in the home is safe.
Parental Capacity Assessment
A parental capacity assessment may be requested by the judge and/or by the opposing attorney. A parental capacity assessment is a thorough assessment of the parent's ability to be a good enough parent on a long-term basis. This isn't particularly the same thing as a parental ability assessment, which is an assessment that relates more to the here and now rather than long term throughout the children's upbringing. However, the ability assessment is a portion of the capacity assessment. If a parent fails the parental capacity assessment, he or she may be ordered to have supervised visitations only.
Another requirement that parents sometimes find themselves needing to fulfill as part of a contentious custody battle is to attend a co-parenting class where they will learn how to co-parent effectively by working together instead of working independently to raise their children. Co-parenting classes do not have to be taken together but they do need to be completed before a specified time as ordered by the court.
If these and other types of assessments and classes are ordered by the court in your custody battle, it would be in your best interest to schedule them as soon as possible and pay the mandatory legal fees that may be involved. Contact a family law attorney for more information about these and other types of requirements for custody cases.