As its name suggests, an order of protection primarily protects victims of domestic abuse, whether physical harm, bodily injury, sexual abuse or threats, from any further harm by restricting contact with their abuser. But if the victim and the abuser have a child together, disputes about the child’s custody may arise.
Only for temporary relief
Since an order of protection aims to prevent further abuse or threats on you and your child, the judge issuing the order will likely address custody and visitation issues, at least temporarily, to uphold that protection. Usually, the judge will allow the child to stay with the nonabusive parent, unless they are physically or mentally unable to do so.
However, the court must still perform regular custody proceedings to determine the final custody and visitation arrangement. Nonetheless, the chances of an abusive parent getting custody and visitation rights are slim since courts heavily give weight to domestic violence when determining custody.
You must request for the relief
Though courts can address custody and visitation issues when issuing an order of protection, they will not specifically know what relief you are asking for unless you state it in your petition. In South Carolina, you have to provide your child’s name, date of birth and address in the petition. Moreover, you must also choose whether to allow the court to grant the other parent reasonable visitation or deny it.
Protecting your rights and your peace
No matter what they are going through, parents usually put their children as their top priority. In domestic violence cases, this includes protecting your child from harm and stabilizing their well-being.
If you believe applying for an order of protection and seeking additional relief for temporary custody is best for your child, you must carefully prepare for it to ensure your and your child’s safety.