Custody and visitation rights

This page answers your questions about custody and visitation rights relating to intimate partner violence

What happens to the custody of my child if I get a divorce from my spouse?

Married couples have joint custody of any children they have together. If you stop living together, the point of departure is that the joint custody will continue. However, you are at liberty to agree that only one of you will have sole custody. If you disagree about who should have custody of your child/children, you must send a request to the Agency of Family Law.

For advice on custody, residence, and visitation rights, you are welcome to contact our legal advisory services.

Does my child’s other parent have the right to visitation if the cause of our separation was that he/she used brute force against me and/or my child?

There is no general answer to this question. All cases on the awarding of visitation rights are individual and are settled on the basis of an assessment of what is in the child’s best interests. If a parent has been violent, this does not mean that he/she is automatically precluded from being awarded visitation rights with the child, but it can result in a situation where the awarding of visitation rights is rejected.

It is also possible that the Agency of Family Law or the Family Court decides that visitation rights are contingent on the parental visitation being monitored. This condition is only used when, according to a specific assessment, there are no other possibilities of awarding visitation rights and, at the same time, it is assessed that the child’s best interests are served by maintaining contact with the other parent.

You can read more on Agency of Family Law’s website.

My child’s other parent says that he/she has been awarded sole custody of our shared child. I have heard nothing about this and was not summoned to any meeting about this. Can this really be true?

No. Whenever parents disagree about the awarding of custody and/or residence and visitation rights, they must contact the Agency of Family Law, which will subsequently summon both parties to a counselling session. Therefore, if your child’s other parent wants joint custody or wants sole custody transferred to him/her, he/she must submit a request to the Agency of Family Law.

Custody will not be transferred or shared between you without you having been informed of this. See the previous point, “What happens to the custody of my child if I get a divorce from my spouse?”.