Custody and visitation matters involving abuse are often complex and difficult to resolve. If a parent caused substantial physical or emotional harm to a child, the system may be likely to deny custody rights and severely restrict or even deny visitation rights.
The recent high profile suspension of Adrian Peterson, a running back for the Minnesota Vikings, highlights the dire consequences that can follow accusations of child abuse. Even the NFL seems confused about what to do about Peterson; the league has suspended, then reinstated and then re-suspended Peterson, as he awaits a trial for allegations that he injured his 4 year old son by striking him with a “switch,” or tree branch, while making the little boy hold leaves in his mouth.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, violence against any member of one’s family (including a spouse, child, or other household member) is a crime. A wide variety of offenses can constitute domestic violence, including:
- Force. Compelling another individual to do something he or she does not want to do through the use of force can be consider a form of abuse.
- Violence. No person may physically strike or otherwise intentionally cause physical harm to a family member.
- Threats. Using menacing language to threaten bodily harm is also a crime in Virginia.
If authorities determine a parent has been abusive towards a child, they may issue a preliminary protective order or restraining order to prevent the parent from coming into contact with the child. Parents who violate such orders can be punished with jail time, fines, probation, and other penalties.
Such court-imposed punishments can have a big impact on child custody cases. A parent who loses the legal right to go near his or her child cannot live in the same home as the child, for instance, even if he or she stays married to the other parent.
Is your family currently embroiled in a child custody case involving abuse? Contact the experienced and compassionate Virginia family law attorneys at DiPietro Law Group, PLLC at (888) 530-4374 to schedule a confidential consultation about your options.