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  • Child Custody and Domestic Violence Allegations: New York's Approach to Custody Proceedings Involving Intimate Partner Abuse

    The first section of this paper addresses the link between domestic violence within an intimate relationship, and future violence against a child, as well as the consequential negative effects of domestic violence on a child. Many courts seem incredibly hesitant to acknowledge that there may be danger for a child to be placed with a parent who performed acts of domestic violence against the other parent. However, a person with the capability to abuse and exploit an intimate partner seems to be just as capable of abusing a child, who is an obviously more vulnerable victim. This section also addresses the complications that arise when the court requires a couple, with a history of domestic violence, to interact regarding their child. The second section looks specifically at New York and how courts handle domestic violence in child custody cases. Currently, there is no presumption within the New York court system against batterers obtaining custody of their child. In fact, in New York, the court will acknowledge the presence of domestic violence (if proven by a preponderance of the evidence) and only then will a court evaluate the domestic violence in relation to the totality of the circumstances surrounding the best interests of the child. This method of evaluation fails to consider the consequences of abuse on the victim, how that is reflected in their demeanor in court and their behavior outside of court.