Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

The court’s decision to award, deny, or restrict child custody is a complex matter. Sometimes a domestic violence charge can complicate it further. But the constant aspect is that the judge always looks out for what is best for the minor.

The prosecution can use a person’s criminal records and pending cases to make it difficult for them to enjoy the fulfillment of parental responsibility. But a Denver criminal defense attorney uses his experience in Colorado’s judicial system to protect the rights of accused persons.

How is Child Custody Determined in Colorado?

In cases where both parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, each of you has to convince the court that it will be more beneficial to the child if they stay in your home or the co-parent’s home.

The judge pays close attention to:

  • The ability of a parent to place the child’s needs ahead of their needs
  • Whether a parent has abused the other parent
  • Whether the child was neglected or abused by the parent
  • The physical distance between the two parents’ homes
  • A parent’s ability to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent
  • The physical and mental health of each parent and the child
  • The child’s ability to adjust to the community, school, and home
  • The child’s relationship with siblings, each parent, and other significant people in their life
  • A mature child’s preferences
  • The parents’ wishes
  • Other facts considered relevant by the court

Domestic violence is one of the factors that can significantly impact the jury’s decision on whether to award a parent custody of the child or not. But domestic violence lawyers based in Denver can ensure that a domestic violence charge does not infringe on your rights as a parent.

How is Domestic Violence Defined?

You can be considered a domestic violence perpetrator if you exhibit abusive behavior in a household, family, or other intimate relationships. The victims could include:

  • Unrelated people living with you
  • Siblings
  • One’s child
  • People you are or were dating
  • Former spouses
  • Current spouse
  • People you have children with

Notably, domestic violence is not limited to hitting the victim. It involves all behaviors that are intended to gain control or power over the other person. You might get into trouble if you engage in:

  • Psychological abuse in the form of threats and intimidation
  • Economic abuse in the form of controlling all the finances in the household
  • Emotional abuse in the form of making you feel unimportant or afraid
  • Physical abuse in the form of choking, slapping, and hitting
  • Verbal abuse in the form of name-calling, yelling or shouting

Victims of these acts, including your child and the other parent, can obtain a protective order that bars you from contacting or getting close to them. You can imagine the impact of this on your relationship and the ability to be awarded custody.

What are the Chances of My Domestic Violence Charge Affecting My Child Custody?

It is worth noting that your domestic violence charge is not the only factor that the court considers when determining parental responsibilities and time in Colorado. The other many factors can outweigh the incidence of domestic violence against the other parent or the child. So, despite being the abuser, you can still actively take part in parenting your little ones.

If the violence was against the other parent, the court might not require you two to share parenting responsibilities that involve shared decision-making. Exchanging the child for parenting time might be scheduled to happen at a police station if there is no supervised exchange location in your area.

A Denver domestic violence attorney can help you negotiate for the most favorable terms in your child custody case. It might be more challenging to get custody if:

  • There are police reports documenting the alleged abuse
  • There are photographs showing physical evidence of the abuse
  • There is a pending criminal case against you
  • Frequent and severe incidences, indicating higher possibilities of future re-occurrence
  • The violence was directed towards the child and had extreme effects on them

It might be easier for the abusive parent to get joint or full custody if:

  • He/she has not committed further acts of domestic violence
  • Has followed the restraining orders against him/her
  • Is on parole or probation and has complied with all the terms
  • Has completed a court-ordered parenting class
  • Has completed a court-ordered substance abuse counseling
  • Has finished the 52-week batterer intervention program
  • Proves to the court that him/her getting joint or full custody will be most beneficial to the child

What if the Other Parent Made False Allegations?

It is common for one parent to make false domestic violence allegations against their co-parent. Most of them do it to get favorable custody arrangements at the inconvenience of the other parent. But their plans might not succeed if an experienced Denver domestic violence attorney takes up your case and builds an excellent defense.

First, the prosecution might have a challenge convicting you for the allegations for lack of sufficient evidence. Some of the evidence needed to build a domestic violence case include:

  • A psychiatric evaluation
  • A therapist’s report
  • A urine, blood, or breathalyzer test results
  • Medical evidence
  • Guardian Ad Litem reports
  • Police reports
  • Custody evaluation reports
  • Child protective services reports

Questionable evidence is usually rejected by the court, and the allegations cannot be used to determine whether you get custody or not. False accusations should never worry you if you can equip yourself with the right legal help in Colorado – as long as you use your right not to say anything that can incriminate you.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys By Your Side

The courts take domestic violence charges seriously when determining child custody. But this criminal charge should not rob you of the joys of parenthood. The battle may not be easy, but the right legal representative can make sure that things go in your favor.

Domestic violence Attorney Daniel M. Murphy uses his extensive experience to help people in such difficult situations. Protect your child’s interests. Seek honest legal representation for your case. Reach out to us on 303-996-8998 to get started.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.