How Will Domestic Violence Impact Kansas Child Custody Battles?When parents go to court over the custody of one or more children after a divorce, something has already gone wrong. In an ideal world, each child’s legal and physical custody would be settled by mutual agreement or through mediation.

Unfortunately this is not always the case. Sometimes, a courtroom fight over who gets decision-making rights (legal custody) and primary living time (physical custody) with the child becomes an extension of the larger divorce conflict between ex-spouses.

During such trials, accusations of child abuse or domestic violence can feel like a trump card that will automatically end the fight and win it for either side. However, in Kansas child custody conflicts, this is not always the case, and it is important to understand exactly how and when domestic violence can impact child custody decisions.

How Is Domestic Violence Defined In Kansas Family Law?

Before we dive into how domestic violence accusations and convictions can affect your case for child custody, it is important to understand the legal definition of the term

Domestic violence is a broad term that covers a great deal of different behaviors, all of which have two things in common:

  1. The target or victim is a family member, spouse, dependent, partner, or person in another similarly protected category.
  2. They are targeted with abuse, which can be verbal or physical, harm, violence, or even the threat of violence.

Given how broad these definitions are, it is surprisingly easy to find yourself or a loved one charged or convicted for domestic violence of one form or another.

Unsurprisingly, given the severity of these accusations and charges, domestic violence convictions can have a big impact on custody battles in Kansas. Thus, it is important to contact a family law attorney before any Kansas custody battle if you or your partner have been accused or convicted of domestic violence.

How Is Child Custody Decided In Kansas Family Law?

Custody decisions are decided in one of two ways: either both parents come to a signed agreement that clearly establishes custody conditions and partition. Or the court will make the decision for them, sometimes after a long and difficult battle with family law lawyers on both sides.

How Is Child Custody Defined In Kansas Law?

The second thing you need to understand when discussing custody battles and domestic violence is how child custody is defined and decided in Kansas Law.

Child custody comes in two varieties:

  1. Legal Custody is the power to make decisions for the future of the child, including medical, educational, and any legal questions.
  2. Physical custody is attributed to the parent with whom the child will be staying the majority of the time; they are responsible for the day-to-day care of the child.

One or both parents can have each form of custody, and the two usually go together but are not legally required to do so.

How Will The Court Determine Child Custody In Kansas Family Law?

If parents cannot come to an agreement on the custody of their children after a divorce, the issue will have to be settled by a Kansas court. Ultimately, this is likely to come down to the decision of a judge, who will consider all available evidence and arguments on both sides.

By law, the list of factors Kansas courts can and will take into consideration is lengthy; it includes:

  • The relationship of the child with both parents and the role each parent has played in their life.
  • The age of the child as well as their physical and emotional needs and the parent’s ability to meet them.
  • The location of each parent’s home and employment as well as the child’s school.
  • The preferences of both parents and of the child if they are old enough.

As well as, of course,

  • Evidence of domestic abuse or convictions of domestic violence for either parent or their partners.

Ultimately, all these factors and more are considered, and the judge will make always make a decision based on what the evidence shows will be in the child’s best interest. Indeed, in Kansas, what is best for the child is always the deciding factor.

Which is one reason why domestic violence or abuse is taken so seriously by the court.

What Role Will Domestic Violence Convictions Play In Child Custody Battles In Kansas?

In child custody conflicts, domestic violence charges might seem like the ultimate argument. After all, one would think the court would never place a child with a parent who might be a danger to them.

Indeed, the court will take into consideration all of the following:

  • Whether the parent or someone they are living with has been convicted of child abuse.
  • Whether the parent of someone they are living with is on the registry of sex offenders.
  • Evidence of domestic violence or abuse.

The first two are clear and easy to define, as they involve prior convictions which are on record. Where it gets complicated, however, is if one or both parents are arguing that the other presents evidence of abusive behavior, which can make things quite complicated for the court.

What Is Considered Evidence Of Domestic Abuse Under Kansas Law?

Abuse can take many forms, and not every abuser has been formally accused, and even fewer have been convicted for their behavior under Kansas Law. Nevertheless, your family law lawyer can bring up evidence that points towards domestic abuse during a child custody battle, even without a conviction.

This can include:

  • Specific acts of violence, sexual abuse, or stalking by one parent, either against the child or the other parent or another protected individual.
  • A history or repeated pattern of domination or control by one parent over the other or the child involving emotional, verbal, psychological, or physically abusive behavior.

These arguments can be difficult to prove, so if you feel you are subject to any of the above, it is important you document as much evidence of this behavior as possible and transmit that evidence to your attorney.

In fact, you may want to keep records of all communication between yourself and your former spouse to ensure that if you are accused in turn, you have evidence to counter any such claims by the opposing divorce lawyer.

Domestic Violence Or Abuse Is Not Always The Deciding Factor In Kansas Custody Battles

While accusations, convictions, and evidence of domestic violence or abuse are always impactful in Kansas child custody battles, they are not the only ones. They may not even be the decisive factors in a judge’s decision, especially if both sides are throwing such accusations at each other.

Ultimately, the strength of your case will depend on the ability of your family law lawyer to present as much positive evidence as possible and undermine any negative evidence or accusations brought by your former spouse.

To secure child custody and protect your child, you will need a seasoned and court-ready lawyer experienced with Kansas family custody battles. In Kansas, you can call Titus Law Trial Attorneys at (913) 543-4500 to get courtroom veteran and family law lawyer Rob Titus on your side.

Titus Law Firm, LLC

Call Now (913) 543-4500

Accessibility Accessibility
× Accessibility Menu CTRL+U