Courts will primarily be concerned with the best interests of the child in any custody case. It obviously impacts the child if one parent is stalking, harassing, or physically harming their counterpart. This means that if a PPO is issued the court will likely consider a request to modify child custody. If the offending parent is showing violent or dangerous tendencies then there is a good chance that the court would be willing to reduce their visitation time and to require that any time they do spend with the child be supervised. If one is in a dangerous situation then, in addition to filing for protection, they should file a Motion to Modify Child Custody immediately. If warranted under the situation the Court may be willing to grant an expedited hearing and hear the matter immediately. How the court rules on any given case will depend on the specific facts of the matter.
At the initial custody modification hearing the court will likely err on the side of caution. If there is strong evidence of violent behavior then a temporary order will likely be put in place which restricts the offending party’s visitation. The Court will then schedule a trial to determine what the permanent arrangement should be. If, between the time of the first hearing and the time of trial, the offending party continues their behavior then the Court may hold additional hearings and take additional steps to protect the best interests of the child. It is, therefore, important that you stay in contact with your attorney throughout the process.
Protective orders also impact a custody case when it is shown that they were based on false allegations. Filing a false PPO will likely be seen as an attempt to frustrate the other parent’s visitation with the child. The court considers it in the child’s best interests for each parent to foster a positive relationship between their counterpart and the child. It is, for obvious reasons, against those interests to file a false claim in an attempt to win child custody. When such a situation arises then the court may be willing to grant primary custody to the parent who was the victim of false allegations.
If you are involved in a custody dispute then it is crucial that you speak with an attorney immediately. This is especially true if the case involves a protective order. Our office handles such matters and is ready to assist you. Call today to speak with a lawyer.