Will Your CO Domestic Violence Charge Impact Your Custody Case?

There are several factors considered by courts when they decide which parent will have custody of a child. In some cases, domestic violence turns an already complex situation into one even more complicated.

Criminal records and pending domestic violence charges can make it difficult for a child custody case if you’re involved in one. Here’s what you need to know about child custody in Colorado and how a domestic violence charge can impact it.

Child Custody in Colorado

If you are in a situation where you and the other parent cannot agree on a custody arrangement amongst yourselves, then you each must go to court. There, you will plead your case as to why you should be the custodial parent.

To determine what is best for the child, the judge will consider several factors, including:

  • How a parent is able to meet their child’s needs
  • Whether or not one parent has abused the other
  • If the child has ever been abused or neglected
  • How far apart the two homes of the parents are
  • How much one parent would encourage a relationship between the other parent and the child
  • The mental and physical health of the child as well as each parent
  • The relationship the child has with each parent, any siblings, and any other people who play a significant role in their life
  • A child’s preference if they are old enough to communicate it
  • The wishes of the parents

Domestic Violence in Colorado

One of the factors that can have a significant impact on a child custody case is domestic violence. In Colorado, domestic violence is defined as abusive behavior against someone with whom you have a significant relationship, such as family or another in your household.

In order for an action to be considered domestic violence, it must be perpetrated against:

  • Someone you share a home with or have in the past
  • Someone you are related to by marriage or blood
  • Someone you are married to or have been married to
  • Someone with whom you share a child
  • Someone you currently date or have formerly dated

Domestic violence is usually associated with assault and battery, but any type of behavior that is meant to gain power or control over another can be considered abusive. Intimidation, threats, stalking, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and economic abuse can also cause issues.

If you perpetuate these types of acts against your partner or children, then a protective order can be granted. This will make it illegal for you to come within a certain distance to them or contact them in any way. This can obviously impact a child custody case in a very practical way.

How Domestic Violence Can Impact Custody

The court won’t only consider a domestic violence charge when determining custody, as some other factors may outweigh an incident that included domestic violence. So, don’t think it absolutely knocks you out of the running to win a child custody case.

How Domestic Violence Can Impact Custody


If the domestic violence charge was against the other parent, then the court may not require the sharing of parental responsibilities, such as mutual decision-making. Instead, you may simply exchange the child someplace where you can be supervised, such as a police station.

It is possible that the other parent has made false allegations in order to get a leg up in the custody case. If you have an experienced attorney on your side to help represent you, then they may be able to show that the incident didn’t occur. They will work to build a great defense for you to use in court against the allegations.


About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.