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Domestic Violence in Custody Cases
Domestic Violence does not automatically foreclose a parent from visitation, custody or shared parenting. The Court must still assess what is in the best interest of a child weighing safety issues with the rights of parents and a child regarding the parent child relationship.
A parent making false allegations regarding domestic violence could also hinder a custody case, and could result in the loss of custody and/or visitation.
When there is domestic violence, the Juvenile Court has limited resources regarding supervised visits, and rarely is supervised visitation or the termination of visitation a final order of the Court. In Hamilton County, the Court can refer a parent to the Children's Home for up to six visits of supervision. The Court will be provided notes of the visits and can use that as part of their basis of their decision regarding visits. The cost of is $200 an hour, but depending on the parents income, parents could qualify for a scholarship. Often when supervised visits is requested, the requesting parent will need to supervise or find a third party willing to do the supervision. This may not be viable long term option.
However, the First District Court of Appeals recently ruled that in limited circumstances, the Court could terminate visitation. The Court stated that "a noncustodial parent’s right of visitation with his or her children is a natural right and should be denied only under extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances include unfitness of the noncustodial parent or a showing that visitation with the child would cause harm. Guliano v. Guliano, 11th Dist. Trumbull No. 2010-T-0031, 2011-Ohio-6853, ¶ 54. “If there is clear and convincing evidence that visitation presents a significant risk of serious emotional or physical harm to the child, or a showing of some justification for preventing visitation, the court may deny visitation.” Linde v. Linde, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C-940944, 1996 WL 97563, *5 (Mar. 6, 1996)." Crystal Baker v. Anthony Edwards C190686.
When deciding custody and visitation issues when there is domestic violence, the Court will make a determination of what is in the best interest of the child. The Ohio Supreme Court has provided guidance on what the Court should be considering.
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