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Can a restraining order affect my custody case?

If you have been served with a restraining order while in the midst of a divorce, or if you believe your spouse is contemplating divorce, it is certainly something to be taken with great caution. Domestic violence is something that Santa Clara County family courts take very seriously. An accusation of domestic violence can have a profound effect on a parent’s ability to have physical custody or parenting time since family court judges must take into account the effect an abuser (or the acts of abuse) may have on a child’s physical and emotional well-being. 

This may cause a judge to reduce parenting time and only allow it under very specific circumstances (i.e. supervised parenting time) or to deny parenting time altogether until a parent completes specified conditions (i.e. anger management classes, co-parenting communication classes).

Indeed, we understand that there are situations where a restraining order (or accusations of abuse) are simply an attempt to gain an advantage in a custody dispute. Because of this, it is unfortunately common for the accused to attempt to contact their spouse or significant other after a fight to try to resolve the matter. Sometimes the accusing spouse will try to mend fences by calling as well. Both are violations of a temporary restraining order, and can lead to further criminal charges. They may also be viewed as a person’s inability to follow a court order, which may further call into question their right to have custody or parenting time.

With that said, it is important for those accused of domestic violence to have experienced legal counsel in the midst of a divorce or child custody dispute.