Getting out of an abusive relationship or marriage is extremely difficult, especially when you share a child with your abuser.
It may take you several attempts to leave, and once you do, you are likely to be concerned about custody. You might assume that in custody cases involving domestic violence, the abuser will not receive any custody time, but that is not always the case.
Domestic abuse is one of several factors an Alaskan court considers when making a custody order.
Proving domestic violence
If you can prove that there is a history of domestic violence in your case, you have protections under the law. Fortunately, you can still prove domestic violence even if you do not have a legal protective order in place.
You can prove domestic violence through your own testimony or the testimony of witnesses who have seen or heard the abuse.
While your co-parent will probably not be banned from ever having custody, they can be required to meet certain requirements before getting any custody time, and their custody time may start out being supervised.
The requirements vary depending on your specific circumstances, but they could be ordered to complete a domestic violence course before receiving any unsupervised custody time.
Additionally, there are several things you can ask to be put into your custody order if your co-parent is granted custody time to ensure your child is safe.
You could request that custody exchanges to take place at a public location, such as a police station parking lot, or that your co-parent have no overnights with your child.
Even if you and your co-parent agree on a custody schedule that allows both of you custody time, despite the history of domestic violence, a judge could override your agreement due to the domestic violence.
As a domestic abuse victim, sharing your story with a family law attorney can help you learn about your options. An attorney can provide you with compassionate advice and advocate for you and your child in the courtroom.