Like many other states, Nebraska’s courts now prefer to award parents approximately equal parenting time and decision-making authority when that is possible. The idea is that children benefit when both parents are heavily involved in their lives.
However, too many relationships in the Omaha area are marred by domestic violence. Domestic abuse takes many forms, and it often spills over into physical violence when one parent attacks or threatens the other or engages in other clearly inappropriate and sometimes criminal behavior.
In these cases, shared parenting can be downright dangerous for victims and children alike.
Nebraska courts can take steps to protect victims of domestic violence
The good news is that Nebraska law allows family courts in this state to take action against those who have perpetrated abuse in the home.
If a court finds that it is more likely than not that one parent has committed what the law calls domestic intimate partner abuse, even if the couple’s children were not involved, then the court may take several steps.
At a minimum, the court cannot award physical or legal custody to the abusive parent, subject only to a very narrow exception. Specifically, the perpetrator would have to demonstrate that, despite his history, he is no threat to the safety of the child or to the other parent.
The court may also take other steps to ensure safety, including ordering supervised visits. The court may also put other restrictions on the perpetrator, such as requiring visits to start and stop at a neutral location, barring overnight visits, or prohibiting certain other people from being around the child.
Custody cases involving domestic violence can be challenging
Still, a family law case involving domestic violence can be challenging, especially if there is a custody or parenting time dispute.
A victim still has to prove her case. She cannot, for example, simply rely on a report from the state’s child welfare authorities.
Also, in some cases, a parent may have allegations of domestic violence fabricated about him. In other cases, a parent’s behavior is significantly exaggerated. A parent is entitled to defend his rights in these situations.