In an ideal world, parents in Modesto, California, and the surrounding area are able to get along and work together on child custody and parenting time, even if they are no longer themselves living together under the same roof.

However, for many residents of this state, this expectation is both impractical and downright dangerous given their relationship is very unhealthy. Unfortunately, the reason many Modesto residents end their relationships is because of domestic violence or other abuse.

California law gives judges overseeing family law matters power to protect both victims of abuse and their children. For instance, if one of the parents was either within the previous 5 years convicted in a criminal case alleging domestic violence or, after a hearing, was otherwise found to have engaged in domestic abuse, then the court may not award that parent either legal or physical custody.

This means the other parent will have decision-making authority over the child, and this authority will include the right to decide where the child lives. Moreover, the other parent will be the one to raise and rear the child most of the time. The parent alleged to have committed domestic violence may still have reasonable visitation.

It is important to note that, on one hand, a parent can receive custody despite a credible allegation of domestic violence if he satisfies certain conditions, such as going to court-ordered counseling, taking parenting classes and the like. On the other hand, if the court needs to do so to protect the child, the court can order supervised visits or take other steps beyond what the law strictly requires.

A parent who has been a victim of domestic violence and is now going through a family law matter may have legal options. Likewise, someone who feels she has been unfairly accused of domestic violence may require the assistance of an attorney as well.