Texas state law defines domestic violence as physical or emotional violence toward a family member. This includes threats of harm, sexual assault, mental abuse and physical abuse. Pinching, shoving and restraining a person when they are trying to get away are physical violence. Regularly yelling at a family member and calling them names or saying degrading words to them are emotional violence. If a child’s parent commits domestic violence, this will affect a judge’s decision on child custody.
Two types of child custody
The two types of child custody in Texas are known as conservatorship and possession. A judge will determine how much custody each parent gets for these types of child custody. Conservatorship is the legal decisions for the child, such as medical, religion and educational decisions. Possession has to do with which parent the child lives with. In most divorces, a judge typically grants joint conservatorship and possession. Domestic violence, however, may result in one parent getting sole custody.
The severity of domestic violence determines how severe the restrictions are. In mild to moderate abuse cases, the judge might grant limited visitation rights while giving sole physical custody to the parent who isn’t committing domestic violence. A judge could require a third party to monitor visitation for the child’s safety. Because of parental conflict, the third party may be a family member or a caseworker.
Loss of parental rights
In severe cases of child abuse, it’s possible for the parent to lose their parental rights. If the parent abandoned the child or failed to support the child, they could lose parental rights. Endangering the child is another possible reason for a court to terminate a person’s parental rights.
The judge’s job is to do what’s in the best interest of the child when making a ruling on child custody. If there is enough proof that domestic violence is going on, then this impacts the terms of child custody and visitation.