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When a parent would endanger a child in custody cases

When some Washington parents divorce, one of them may have concerns about the safety of their children when they are with the other parent. When they have true fears that their children's other parent places them in danger, they should speak up and inform the court about their concerns. Courts will investigate threats of violence, domestic violence, and allegations of abuse before they make child custody decisions.

In addition to investigating the parent who has been accused of committing abuse or domestic violence or of making threats, a court will also investigate the parent who has made the allegations to determine whether or not that parent is being truthful. If a parent makes up false allegations of abuse or domestic violence, the court will weigh that against that parent when the judge makes a child custody decision.

If the ex claims that the parent is making false accusations, it will be important for the parent to have evidence to support his or her allegations. The parent might want to gather text messages, emails, voice mails, medical records, and police reports that support the allegations. The parent may also want to have witnesses available to testify in support of the allegations.

When courts find that the children would be in danger when they are with the other parent, they may award only limited visitation rights to the abuser. The visitation may be supervised. If a court finds that a parent has lied, it may award custody to the parent who has been falsely accused. People who have serious concerns about the safety of their children might benefit from talking to experienced family law attorneys in order to learn what options might be available.

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