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How Domestic Violence Affects Legal Decision Making Orders

How Domestic Violence Affects Legal Decision Making Orders

Domestic violence brings potential harm to the home. It can hurt adults or children. The harm can be emotional, mental, physical or economic. Many are aware that it is a problem, but they still aren’t sure how it affects legal decision making and parenting time in Arizona family court.

What is Domestic Violence?

Victims of domestic violence often don’t see themselves as victims unless they can identify marks and/or scars to prove the abuse. Because of this mindset, many do not seek the advantage of services that are designed to help them. Under Arizona law, the following actions qualify as domestic violence: sexual assault or physical injury to family/household member, attempted sexual assault or physical injury to family/household member, making a family/household member afraid that they are about to experience physical injury, and patterns of abusive behavior serious enough to result in the issuance of a protective order. Therefore, domestic violence can take many forms: harassment, threats, physical assault, stalking, intimidation, trespassing, property damage, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, photographing or “watching” victims without their consent, etc. These acts of domestic violence can occur face to face, in person but from a distance, by phone, by text, by email, online, written, etc.

Who Can Obtain Protection from Domestic Violence Under Arizona Law?

According to Arizona law, family members and household members who are targets of domestic violence are entitled to protection. This includes spouses, former spouses, co-habiting couples or couples who used to live together, people who have a shared child, situations in which one partner is pregnant with the other’s child, individuals who are related by marriage or blood, children, people who are or were at some point involved in a romantic/sexual relationship. When attempting to resolve domestic violence issues the judge must look at the nature and length of the relationship, frequency of interaction (past and present) and the length of time since the relationship ended (if it is over).

How Does Domestic Violence Affect Legal Decision Making and Parenting Time for Your Child?

Two of the factors the judges consider when determining legal decision making and parenting time for your child directly relate to domestic violence: 1) whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse, and 2) whether either parent has falsely reported neglect or child abuse. In the Arizona family court, evidence of domestic violence may be seen as contrary to the best interest of the child. That means that a parent who has committed domestic violence is less likely to be assigned legal decision making and less likely to obtain a majority of parenting time.

If you need assistance with your legal decision making and parenting time case and there is domestic violence involved, please get in touch with the experienced divorce lawyers at Arizona Family Law Attorneys. We can assist you obtaining the proper information to provide for the court’s examination from rulings of other courts to police and medical reports, etc.


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