Can a parent who committed violence get visitation?
Sometimes. Visitation by a parent who committed violence may be allowed, but only if the judge believes that proper measures can be taken to insure the safety of both the child and the non-abusive parent. This may include picking up and dropping off the child in a protected place or having the visits be supervised. The judge can also order an abuser to pay for supervised visitation, or to pay a bond (money that will be kept if he doesn't return the child). The judge may also order the abuser to attend a batterer's treatment program and order the abuser to not have or use alcohol or drugs during the visitation and for 24 hours before the visitation. The judge can also prohibit overnight visits. The judge can also order that your address be kept confidential.1
The court can also refer, but cannot order, an adult who is a victim of family or domestic violence to attend counseling relating to the victim's status or behavior as a victim, individually or with the abuser as a condition of receiving custody of a child or as a condition of visitation.1
When deciding visitation, the judge must also take into account:
- the safety and well-being of the child and of the parent who is the victim of family or domestic violence;
- the abuser's history of causing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or causing reasonable fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, to another person.2
Also, the law states that if a parent is absent or relocates because of an act of domestic or family violence by the other parent, the absence or relocation may not be a factor that the judge can use against the parent in making a decision as to custody or visitation.3
If the judge does not believe that the victim and/or child remains at risk from the abuser, the judge may order unsupervised visitation without any conditional measures to protect the victim and child. Therefore, if you feel there is still a risk of violence, the judge has to be convinced that you and your child need protection.
1 Alabama Code § 30-3-135
2 Alabama Code § 30-3-132(a)
3 Alabama Code § 30-3-132(b)