Nearly everyone agrees in principle that child custody should be awarded with the safety and best interests of the child at heart. However, in practice, child custody cases are often complex and fraught with gray areas, meaning that blanket policies may be counterproductive to individual cases.
New legislation proposed by Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX-02), who is the co-founder of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, is intended to prioritize child safety in custody and visitation adjudications. This legislation would make child custody and visitation somewhere between very difficult and impossible for domestic violence offenders to obtain.
Let’s look at the bill in greater detail.
The Noble Intentions of H. Con. Res 150
The reasoning behind this new legislation is that abusers often use child custody as a means to control their victims, which is known as legal abuse. Further, a history of domestic violence is often predictive of unhealthy parenting patterns and the potential for child abuse.
In other words, the intention is to protect victims from further abuse and keep children from potential harm. A noble goal.
However, if enacted, this will would force family courts nationwide to consider and resolve any potential indication of child abuse before determining child custody and visitation. This is something that could potentially include domestic violence charges that do not involve the child.
Although this may very well keep some children from enduring horrific abuse, a blanket policy such as this can also be harmful in family law, which is often complex and nuanced.
Domestic Violence: The Other Side of the Coin
Most accusations of domestic violence are quite real. Worse, it is believed that nearly half of domestic violence goes unreported, as victims are often afraid to report abuse, or feel that they are at fault.
That’s one side of the coin. The other is that domestic violence allegations destroy lives, and some individuals make false or exaggerated claims to seek revenge or gain legal leverage.
This is also a form of legal abuse which is unfortunate not only for those wrongly accused of domestic violence, but also for the real victims, as false or exaggerated claims invalidate very real abuse that can and does occur.
Accordingly, the potential harm for H. Con. Res. 150 is that it may allow those who exploit false or exaggerated claims of domestic violence to gain more legal leverage. Passage of this bill would mean that any potential signs of child abuse, which potentially could include domestic disputes totally unrelated to the child, would have to be resolved before child custody suits from the alleged abuser would even be heard in court.
Help If You Are Facing Domestic Violence Charges
At the law offices of Andrew M. Weisberg, we hold that domestic violence should never be tolerated, nor should false or exaggerated claims used to gain legal leverage.
Due to the potential for new legislation, if you are facing domestic violence charges, it is more important than ever to fight these charges as quickly and aggressively as possible. Beating your charges puts you in a much stronger position to convince the courts that you deserve to be around your children.
To fight serious charges such as domestic violence, you will need to retain serious legal representation. A skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney will fight tirelessly to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Get in touch now to start fighting for your family and future.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.