Domestic violence causes long-term damage to children. It can slow your child’s development, cause permanent physical injuries, and inflict emotional trauma that can ripple throughout their lifetime. Arizona courts strive to protect children from domestic violence and can restrict or revoke visitation rights for individuals who are suspected of abusing a child.
Establishing the Presence of Domestic Violence in Arizona
Domestic violence encompasses a wide range of actions. These include:
- Abusive behaviors that result in the issuance of protective orders
- Physical assaults that result in personal injuries
- Instilling a feeling of fear where family members are afraid of suffering injury
- Sexual assaults or threats of sexual assault
- Making verbal threats
- Harassment of the child, sibling, or custodial parent
- Stalking the child or other family member
- Physical or verbal intimidation
A family lawyer in Arizona can submit evidence to the courts that establish domestic violence events and the impact of these events on the child. Your attorney can provide rulings from other courts, copies of police reports, arrest records, photographs, videotaped recordings of the event, medical records, and reports generated by representatives of Child Protective Services. It is also possible to submit records from your child’s school and any eyewitnesses who have direct knowledge of the abuse.
Domestic Violence Does Not Have to Happen to the Child
Non-custodial parents can be denied visitation rights even if the child was not the victim of their assaults. Denial of visitation rights can occur if the non-custodial parent has attacked a former spouse, current or former partner, sibling, step-sibling, or other family member related by blood or marriage. The court can consider these actions as a presumption that the child could be at risk of suffering similar abuse and that contact with the non-custodial parent is not in the child’s best interests.
Court Actions on Visitation Rights
If the court determines that the child is at risk of domestic violence, they have a number of possible actions at their discretion. The court can choose to restrict visitation by requiring exchanges occur in a protected setting.
Often, the courts choose to require supervised visitation with an approved agency. However, the judge can allow another family member or member of the household to supervise these visits. Further, the courts can require the non-custodial parent adhere to numerous stipulations regarding these visits. These often include:
- Banning overnight visits
- Requiring the parent to pay all associated costs with supervised visits
- Require drug/alcohol counseling and testing
The court has the authority to establish other conditions as required or applicable to the situation that would help protect the child from potential abuse during the visit. If the non-custodial parent violates any of the provisions stipulated by the court, the judge can revoke their visitation rights.
Termination of Parental Rights
Unfortunately, domestic violence doesn’t end with a court order. When a non-custodial parent continues to abuse the child, the courts can terminate their parental rights and any visitation rights. When the pattern of domestic abuse continues, family members, the custodial parent or foster parent, other relatives, the child’s physician, and the Arizona Department of Economic Security can petition the court to terminate the abusive parent’s rights to contact the child.
Contact Simon Law Group, PLLC at (480) 745-2450 for more information on the impact of domestic violence on visitation rights and to schedule a free consultation. Our family law group is always ready to help you protect your child from physical, mental, verbal, or sexual abuse.