Courts take special precautions with regard to custody and visitation in divorce cases involving a history of domestic violence. The Texas Family Code requires courts to consider evidence of the intentional use of physical force by one spouse against the other or against a parent of a child, or any person under the age of eighteen during the preceding two year period in making an appointment of a sole or joint managing conservator.
Texas law prohibits a court from appointing joint managing conservators if there is credible evidence of a history or pattern of past or present child neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse by one parent directed against the other parent, a spouse, or a child, including sexual assault that results in the other parent becoming pregnant with the child. Additionally, the court may consider the commission of an act of family violence in determining whether to deny, limit, or restrict visitation by the possessory conservator.
The Texas Family Code prohibits a court from granting visitation to a parent where it has been established that there is a history or pattern of committing family violence during the two years before the divorce action was filed or during the pendency of the case unless: 1) the court finds that granting visitation would not endanger the child’s physical or emotional well-being or 2) enters an order which requires all visitation be supervised by an entity or person chosen by the court or the exchange of the child take place in a protective setting, 3) orders the accused parent to refrain from the use of alcohol and controlled substances during the twelve hour period before visitation is scheduled to begin and during visitation, or 4) orders the accused parent to attend and complete a battering intervention and prevention program.