In California and throughout the country, family court judges have children’s best interests in mind when making child custody decisions. If you file for a divorce, you and your spouse must resolve numerous child custody issues before you can achieve a settlement. In a perfect world, you’d agree on everything, the court would approve your proposed plan and everyone would peacefully move on in life.

Reality is often a lot different from dreams of a perfect world. Disagreements about parenting may be one of the issues that prompted your decision to file for a divorce. There may have been other serious problems in your marriage as well, such as your ex’s habits for using drugs or alcohol, or anger issues, etc. You may have ultimately decided that you and your kids would be better off on your own than to stay in an unstable household.

Domestic violence comes in many forms

Child safety is a primary issue of child custody proceedings. The court does not knowingly place children in unsafe environments. If you have come to believe that your children are at risk when they are at their other parent’s house, you can bring the matter to the court’s attention. The following list shows numerous types of behavior that may legally be defined as domestic violence:

  • Hitting, grabbing or pushing
  • Biting
  • Stabbing
  • Denying a child food or water
  • Withholding help for someone who is ill or has suffered injury
  • Locking children out of a house
  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Holding a child in isolation to cut him or her off from family and friends

As a parent, you understand your obligations to provide for the temporal needs of your children and keep them safe. It’s devastating to think that a person you once loved and were married to would place your children in harm’s way. This type of situation is dangerous and worrisome, especially if there’s a court order in place that gives the person you suspect of domestic violence visitation privileges.

What happens if you refuse to let your ex see your children?

When the court issues a child custody order, you and your ex are both obligated to adhere to its terms unless and until the court grants a modification if one of you files a petition to request it. Before then, if you were to deny your ex visitation, the court could find you in contempt.

However, as a parent, you want what’s best for your kids. Many parents who have dealt with domestic violence believe it is best to do what is necessary to always keep the kids safe. If the court determines that a parent is a detriment to a child’s well-being, that parent may lose custody or have visitation restricted to supervised visits only. In some cases, the court may prohibit all contact between a parent and their children on a temporary or permanent basis.