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How a protective order could affect child custody matters

Learning that someone is seeking a protective order can feel very insulting, and many people rush to defend themselves against allegations of aggressive behavior or stalking. Others believe that the allegations they face are a sure sign they should wash their hands of the situation and avoid the other person as much as possible.

However, when those involved in such a situation share children, that clean break of communication simply isn’t a realistic expectation. If one parent seeks a protective order that will restrict the activity of the other, their actions could have significant implications for future custody arrangements.

How a protective order can affect a custody process

Generally, during South Dakota custody litigation, a judge considers what would be best for the children, and the law specifically prohibits considering misconduct when choosing how to divide parental rights and responsibilities. In other words, even if there is clear proof that one spouse cheated on the other, that brazen misconduct would have no bearing on the outcome of a custody dispute.

However, when the misconduct could potentially affect a child’s safety, then the courts could consider that misconduct when creating or reviewing a custody order. A protective order that includes allegations that a parent is abusive toward the other parent or the children could influence what a judge believes would be in the best interest of the children.

A pre-existing protective order could lead to a judge determining that one parent should not have on supervised access to the children until they have improved their circumstances. The potential impact of a protective order on custody matters is exactly why many people respond proactively after receiving notice that the other parent of their children wants to seek a protective order.

Recognizing how different areas of the law, including protective orders and family law, could influence one another, can help parents protect themselves from surprise secondary consequences during a dispute with the other parent of their children.