May 18, 2022

What are the effects of family violence or abuse on custody arrangements?

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Are you worried about your children spending time with a violent or abusive ex-spouse? Or are you worried about how allegations of family violence could affect your right to see your children?

Whether there has been actual or alleged family violence or abuse could well affect custody arrangements.

As with all parenting orders that it makes, the court must make orders according to what it believes to be in the “best interests of the child”. One of the primary considerations when deciding “best interests” is the need to protect the child from harm resulting from abuse, neglect or family violence (including risk of that harm occurring).

Some relevant factors when assessing risk include:

  • What is the nature of the family violence or abuse that’s alleged? How serious is it?
  • Against whom did the family violence or abuse occur? Family violence that occurred against an ex-spouse in an acrimonious relationship is likely to be viewed differently to family violence that is committed directly against the child.
  • What available evidence is there that family violence or abuse occurred?
  • How old and mature is the child? Are they able to self-protect and/or report any abuse?
  • When did the alleged family violence or abuse occur?
  • Are there any Intervention Orders or Intervention Order Applications and what was the result of the Intervention Order court proceedings?

If the court considers that a parent poses an “unacceptable risk” to the child, then it is likely that it will only order that the parent spend supervised time with the child. In some cases where the risk to the child is too great, the court may order that the parent spend no time with the child at all.

Custody/parenting arrangements, especially where there are family violence or other risk factors must be handled delicately. Oikos Family Law have some of the best family lawyers in Ringwood and Mount Waverley who have extensive experience in custody disputes and family violence cases. Please contact us on 0421 397 316 or at for an obligation free chat.

If you or your children are in immediate danger, you should call 000. If you otherwise experiencing family violence, you should consider contacting family violence helplines/centres such as 1800RESPECT or Safe Steps. For men / dads who are experiencing family or relationship difficulties, you can contact support lines Mensline or Dads in Distress.

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