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How Domestic Violence History Affects Child Custody Rights

In addition to limiting a parent’s custody rights through supervised or limited visitation, a background of domestic violence can also result in other restrictions on the parent.  To be allowed access to the child, the parent may have to comply with a court order under the Texas Family Code that limits the parent in the following ways:

  • The courts prohibit the parent from consuming alcohol or controlled substances while having access to the child or within 12 hours prior to visiting the child
  • The court may also require the parent attend and complete a battering intervention and prevention program.  Courts consider parents to be batterers when they repeatedly act violently or threaten violence toward spouses, family members, or others with whom they have resided in the same household.  Texas Article 42.141 defines a battering intervention and prevention program as a program operated by a court-referred, non-profit organization that provides treatment and educational services to help batterers stop abusive behavior.
  • If there is no local battering prevention program available, the court may require that the parent receive counseling from a mental health professional with a background in family therapy, a license that requires a minimum of a master’s degree, and domestic violence training.  The parent has to pay for counseling costs.

In cases that involve domestic violence, the courts make decisions based on their evaluation of whether the parent’s access to the child puts the child’s emotional or physical well-being in danger.  They also take into consideration whether the domestic violence occurred within two years prior to the lawsuit or during the time of the lawsuit.

Consulting a child custody attorney in Texas who has experience in these types of domestic violence cases can help protect a parent’s rights and the best interests of the child.

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Robert Reid McInvale
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Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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