Too often, parents with a history of domestic violence against a spouse or partner are still allowed to have child visitation or even custody rights — even when the other parent has warned the court that it’s not safe for the children to be around them. We’ve seen some high-profile tragedies occur when judges didn’t listen to parents.
Too often, judges and others in a decision-making capacity ignore a parent’s warnings that their children’s other parent could be dangerous – particularly if they’ve never been violent toward the children. Often, they say, judges place their belief that children need to have a relationship with both parents ahead of valid concerns for the children’s safety.
The proposed legislation
Now a state senator from the Los Angeles area, Susan Rubio, has introduced a bill that would provide training for judges around domestic violence, ban visitation in some cases and increase funding that would “prioritize child safety” in child custody decisions.
She noted that separation and divorce can be particularly dangerous times for parents and children. She said, “Their abusers are angry and will do anything to harm them, ruin them, assault them, kill them and go as far as killing their own children in retaliation. The system failed them.”
State Sen. Rubio is also lobbying for stricter restraining order enforcement and stricter rules when visitation is allowed, such as restrictions on who can serve as the person “supervising” the visit.
The head of the Center for Judicial Excellence says, “The courts are simply not recognizing the dangers of domestic violence and child abuse that are so common….Kids have a right to be safe in their home and to grow up into adulthood.”
What if you believe your child is in danger?
Regardless of what happens with this bill, parents owe it to their children to fight for their safety and well-being in custody agreements. If you believe that your children are not safe with their other parent – whether it’s because of a propensity for violence, substance abuse or another issue – it’s crucial to present the strongest possible case. Having experienced legal guidance is essential.