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Can a father with a history of domestic violence against his daughter's mother get full custody of his daughter?

Georgetown, SC |

I have a friend who does not live with his daughter or her mother. The father is also not on his daughter's birth certificate and does not pay child support for his daughter. He has told me that his daughter's mother is exposing her to inappropriate things and he believes that his daughter would be better off is she lived with him. However, this father has spent time in prison for domestic violence against his daughter's mother, and also has other criminal charges on his criminal record. He also owes a substantial amount of money in child support for one of his older children. Is it possible for him to get full custody of his daughter? If so, how difficult will it be, and what should be his first step?

Attorney Answers 1


The paramount consideration when considering a change of custody is the child's best interest. He needs a family law attorney who can help him show that whatever occurred in the past, the circumstances have so substantially and materially change that a change of custody is in the daughter's best interest. Family courts are courts of equity, so they have a fair amount of latitude when making decisions. The court will weigh his past history of violence with the "inappropriate things" the daughter is now exposed to. How long ago did the violence happen? Has he completed an anger management program? Are the "inappropriate things" drugs use in front of the child, violence, sex...or did the daughter just catch a glimpse of an inappropriate tv show in one, isolated occurrence at her mother's house? etc....

Please be advised that this comment should in no way be interpreted as legal advice, nor should one rely on this comment in making a final decision about his or her case. Each case is fact specific and peculiar in its own way. Thus, you should consult with an attorney in-person or over the phone, explaining your particular situation, so that the attorney can render fully effective and competent assistance tailored to your particular situation.

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