Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC July 8, 2021

When a parent in Colorado is the subject of domestic abuse, they may be concerned for the safety not just of themselves but also that of their child. Therefore, seeking a divorce when you are the victim of domestic violence and neglect can be challenging, especially if children are involved.

First, while some couples can resolve their divorce legal issues through mediation, depending on the circumstances, mediation may not be the best choice in divorces involving domestic violence. While mediation can be less costly than litigation, it is possible that the victim of abuse will feel intimidated by their abuser, making any negotiations inherently unfair. Moreover, the abuser may feel like they are able to bully the victim into accepting a settlement that is not in their favor. Especially when children are involved, sometimes domestic violence victims may want to turn to the courts to decide on their divorce legal issues such as child custody, rather than trying to mediate a settlement out-of-court.

With that in mind, when a parent is the victim of domestic violence, they may be concerned that their abuser will get custody of their children. If it can be shown that the child could be harmed during child custody exchanges due to the abuse, then the victim of abuse might be given custody of the children. Sometimes even the threat of abuse is enough for a victim to obtain child custody, even if that abuse is not directed at the child.

Determining who will get custody of the child in a divorce involving domestic violence is a very sensitive topic. Ultimately, the courts will want to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child. Exposing a child to abuse is likely not going to be viewed as a situation that is in the child’s best interests, and custody decisions may be made accordingly. Moreover, a settlement in which a victim of domestic violence was clearly coerced into giving up child custody rights might not be approved by the court. While this post cannot guarantee any specific outcome in one’s divorce case, when domestic violence is an issue, keeping the victims of abuse and their children safe is of paramount importance and the outcome of the divorce should reflect that.