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Can allegations of domestic violence affect child custody rights?

Domestic violence is often more than just a single incident or act. In fact, domestic violence may take on a variety of forms, including not limited to physical or sexual violence, emotional or psychological intimidation, and economic abuse. For Arizona residents, and individuals living throughout the rest of the country, domestic violence can be described as abuse by one member of a partnership against the other member, with the intent of the abuser to control the victim.

Under the laws of Arizona, a parent may be denied legal custody of their child if that parent is found to have committed domestic violence. Pursuant to Title 25 of the Arizona Code, the domestic violence would have to be significant for a court to deny the parent legal custody rights. The following paragraph will discuss some of the types of evidence that a court may consider when it evaluates child custody matters and a person's alleged history of domestic violence.

Different types of official reports may be used in this type of evaluation, such as police reports that document alleged incidents of domestic violence, as well as any medical reports detailing the injuries suffered as a result of such violence. Courts may review any records created by domestic violence shelters if alleged victims of violence sought refuge in such locations, and they may obtain and review children's school records if there is any discussion of domestic violence in those records.

Because Arizona courts seek to serve the best interests of the children whose custody matters come before them, it is generally the practice of the courts to carefully determine if a parent has ever engaged in domestic violence before granting that parent child custody rights. A charge of domestic violence is not necessarily a bar to a parent's chances of gaining legal custody, and those parents who wish to learn more about how they may exercise their rights to see their children may want to contact an Arizona family law attorney.

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