Legal Information: U.S. Virgin Islands

Statutes: Virgin Islands, U.S.

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December 28, 2021

109. Final orders

(a) Whenever a marriage is declared void or dissolved the court may, without regard to any determination that the breakdown of the marriage was the fault of one party or the other, further decree:
(1) for the future care and custody of minor children of the marriage as it may deem just and proper, having due regard to the age and sex of such children and giving primary consideration to the needs and welfare of such children;
(2) for the recovery from the party not granted care and custody of such children such an amount of money, in gross or in installments, as may be just and proper for such party to contribute toward the nurture and education thereof;
(3) for the recovery for a party determined to be in need thereof an amount of money in gross or in installments, as may be necessary for the support and maintenance of such party;
(4) for the delivery to the wife of her personal property in the possession or control of the husband at the time of giving the judgment;
(5) for the appointment of one or more trustees to collect, receive, expand, manage, or invest, in such manner as the court shall direct, any sum of money necessary for the maintenance of the wife or the nurture and education of minor children committed to her; or
(6) to change the name of the wife.

(b) Determination raises rebuttable presumption that child reside with parent not perpetrator or legal guardian.In determining the future care and custody of minor children under subsection (a), a determination by the court that the domestic violence has occurred raises a rebuttable presumption that it is in the best interest of the child to reside with the parent who is not the perpetrator of domestic violence in the location of that parent’s choice, within or outside the territory or with a legal guardian. This presumption shall also apply when a parent has been convicted for the death of the other parent, or when the child has been conceived by rape.

(c) Factors court must consider.In addition to the other factors that the court considers in determining the custody of a child or visitation by a parent, and where the court has made a finding of domestic violence, the court shall consider each of the following:
(1) The safety and well-being of the child and of the parent who is the victim of domestic violence.
(2) The perpetrator’s history of causing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or causing reasonable fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, to another person.
(3) If a parent is absent or relocates because of an act of domestic violence by the other parent, the absence or relocation may not be a factor that weighs against the parent in determining the custody or visitation.

(d) Visitation by parent who committed violence.
(1) A court may award visitation by a parent who committed domestic violence only if the court finds that adequate provision for the safety of the child and the parent who is a victim of domestic violence can be made. In a visitation order, a court may take any of the following actions:
(A) order an exchange of the child to occur in a protected setting;
(B) order visitation supervised in a manner to be determined by the court:
(C) order the perpetrator of domestic violence to attend and complete to the satisfaction of the court, a program of intervention for perpetrators or other designated counseling as a condition of visitation;
(D) order the perpetrator of domestic violence to abstain from possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances during the visitation and for 24 hours preceding the visitation;
(E) order the perpetrator of domestic violence to pay a fee to defray the cost of supervised visitation;
(F) Prohibit overnight visitation;
(G) Require a bond from the perpetrator of domestic violence for the return and safety of the child; and
(H) Impose any other condition that is considered necessary to provide for the safety of the child, the victim of domestic violence, or other family or household member.
(2) Whether or not visitation is allowed, the court may order the address of the child or the victim of domestic violence to be kept confidential.
(3) The court may refer, but may not order an adult who is a victim of domestic violence to attend counseling relating to the victim’s status or behavior as a victim, individually or with the perpetrator of domestic violence as a condition of receiving custody of a child, or as a condition of visitation.
(4) If a court allows a family or household member to supervise visitation, the court shall establish conditions to be followed during visitation.

(e) Domestic violence defined. For purposes of this section, domestic violence means domestic violence as defined in title 16 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 2, section 91, subsections (b) and (c).

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