Restraining Orders and Custody

A restraining order between two parents can impact physical custody, legal custody, and the number of attorneys involved in the case.

The court has an obligation to protect the victim spouse and children from further harm.  Accordingly, the court should not enter an order that would require the parents to interact with each other.  The time-sharing arrangement should provide for safe transitions of children in a monitored location, perhaps at one’s church.

It is difficult for parents to share legal custody when one parent is abusive.  How can two parents make decisions jointly if they cannot interact with each other?  Where there is a history of violence and/or manipulation, the victim spouse should make the court aware that a joint decision-making arrangement is not feasible and is potentially dangerous.

Since custody can become so tricky in domestic violence scenarios, it is useful to ask the court to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate allegations and assess which parent provides the safest environment for the children.  Although Guardians Ad Litem can be expensive, most courts have the ability to appoint a pro bono Guardian Ad Litem for low-income families.