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How domestic violence can affect child custody cases

It is always ideal when couples in the Cleveland area can get along during the divorce process and come to an agreement about child custody and parenting time. The common wisdom these days is that a cooperative divorce makes the process far less traumatic on the children.

However, there are some situations in which it may be impractical or even impossible for couples to reach an agreement about custody. In cases where there are allegations of domestic violence, for instance, one might reasonably say a liberal custody arrangement involving lots of shared time could even be dangerous.

Ohio law offers special protections to victims of domestic violence. In addition to criminal penalties, victims can get relief through the family law courts if they are going through a divorce, perhaps because of domestic violence, and want to have custody of their children.

Ohio's courts must take credible allegations of domestic violence seriously when setting out a custody and parenting plan, even in the absence of criminal charges and even if the children themselves were not involved in or witnesses to violent acts.

This is welcome news for victims who are trying to extract themselves from a dangerous and damaging situation.

On the flip side, the prospect of losing one's custodial rights or even parenting time with his or her children can create further apprehension in someone who is on the receiving end of a domestic violence allegation. This is true especially when there is a companion criminal case and most especially when the allegations are either false or, at best, grossly exaggerated.

A parent who is being unfairly accused of domestic violence will want legal representation just the same as a victim of domestic violence would want it in order to protect his or her rights throughout what is for all parties a very difficult process.

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