Sometimes when parties are nearing the point of divorce or a custody battle, there is an incident of domestic abuse that occurs between the parties. If the domestic abuse extends to the children, where they either witnessed or were part of the abusive event, the court may restrict parenting time or any contact between the abuser and the children. The effect of this is clear on any custody dispute: if there is a protective order in place barring a party’s contact with their children, they will not be able to have contact through the family matter.

Order for Protection

The provisions of the Order for Protection will extend to the family law case, and short of the parties agreeing to modify those terms, it will last the full time of the protective order (generally two years).

This can have long-term effects on custody as well. The abuser may not be prohibited from having any relationship in the future, but it is difficult to overcome an abusive past to reestablish a relationship with your children. The abuser and children will probably go through some reunification therapy and gradually work to develop a relationship and trust again.

If an Order For Protection only protects one parent from the other but the children are not involved, there will generally be parenting time involved. An Order For Protection does make it more likely that the court would order sole legal custody, meaning that the custodial parent would have the sole right to make the big decisions in the children’s lives. However, there would be parenting time arranged through a third party or through a safety center.