Can you get sole custody if your spouse is abusive?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2022 | Custody & Visitation, Domestic Violence

Getting a divorce is a traumatic event. When you have an abusive spouse, things can be even more stressful. You worry that your soon-to-be-ex will harm your children. Is it possible to get full custody?

Domestic violence is a frightening reality in Texas. It increased by 23% during the pandemic. If you are getting a divorce to escape a dangerous environment, it is natural to want to protect your kids as well. Be aware, however, that courts prefer to award joint custody in a divorce proceeding for the sake of the children.

Courts look at several factors before determining custody arrangements. You will need to prove that your spouse has abused you or one of your children to gain custody. Even one incident of abuse in the previous two years is enough for your spouse to have a history of abuse. That history can affect the child custody arrangements.

Still, a parent who is abusive may get custody rights if the courts determine the following:

  • Visits by the abusive parent are in the best interests of the child
  • The child’s physical or emotional health would not be in danger by the visits
  • There is a visitation order that can protect the child
  • The abusive parent has supervised visits and must complete a treatment program
  • The abusive parent has not assaulted or seriously injured a child

While it is unlikely that the courts will terminate an abusive parent’s visitation rights, you can get those visits restricted or limited if you can prove physical abuse.