How Protective Orders Can Affect Custody Arrangements

Maryland Law Blog

February 1, 2021
Category: Child Custody

Protective Orders are a common tool of legal enforcement in domestic cases. They protect spouses against one another when one party has been violent towards the other. Although protective orders provide legal protection for a spouse, they can cause confusion when it comes to child custody. Keep reading to discover all of the ways a protective order can impact custody arrangements.

Types of Protective Orders in Maryland

In Maryland, there are two types of protective orders that can be sought. The first type of order is a “protective order”.  This type of order is specifically for “family-like” or sexual relationships. To qualify for a protective order in Maryland, you must be able to prove that the other person committed an act of abuse, such as:

  • Assault
  • Threatening to cause serious bodily harm
  • Causing serious bodily harm
  • Stalking

The other type of order that can be sought in Maryland is a “peace order”. This type of restraining order protects an individual from people whom they are less familiar with, such as neighbors, strangers, and co-workers.

How it Affects Custody

In the short run, protective orders may limit the abusive parent‘s child custody rights. The order will immediately replace any existing custody order, and that means that the parent may not be able to see their child until the protective order has expired or has been removed.

In the long run, protective orders can have a significant impact on child custody. During a divorce, the courts examine multiple factors to determine the best interests of the children involved. If a parent has a current or prior protective order based on domestic abuse or child abuse, a judge can take that into consideration when deciding on child custody. If one parent is deemed a violent person, the courts will likely deny joint custody to that parent.

What Happens if You Are Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

If it is found that one parent has falsely accused the other parent of domestic violence, the courts will take that into account when deciding custody. Maryland courts frown heavily upon false accusations of domestic violence and doing so may result in a loss of custody of the children. The courts will view the act as the parent not having the best interest of the children in mind.

Discuss Your Options with a Baltimore County Divorce Lawyer

If you are thinking about filing for a protective order or have been accused of domestic violence, Alan Billian can help. Let us guide you through the process and help you make the best decisions for a favorable outcome for you and your children. Contact us today to get started with a FREE consultation.

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