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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 29986
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I am in the process of getting divorced from a man that was

Customer Question

I am in the process of getting divorced from a man that was abusive and neglectful toward me and our then infant child (he is now a toddler). My soon to be ex husband has a child from a previous marriage and I would like to know if our custody agreement would / could impact his present or future custody agreement for this child. I am trying to get all visits for the foreseeable future to be supervised due to the history of abuse. Would the decree state the reason for the supervised visits and if so, could this come into consideration if/when he petitions for a change in custody for his older child?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

A later custody decision won't automatically impact a custody order. The mother of the other child does not get notified by the court, so unless she went looking for the court order or decided to watch your case to see what happened, she may not even know what the judge decided.

When the judge enters a custody order, that's supposed to include findings of fact, where he explains what it is about the case that impacted the decision. A judge who orders supervised visitation will usually spell out the reasons for doing so in the order - this is largely to prevent a situation where the parent who gets supervised visits tries to appeal and say there was no reasons for that decision. So, most likely, if you aren't able to reach an agreement on child custody and the judge winds up making the decision, yes, the court order will give some reasons that supervised visitation is being ordered.

If either parent moves to change custody for your husband's other child, the fact that the father has supervised visitation for another child could be brought before the judge, and it could play into the judge's decision for that child. It's up to the other parent to decide whether to enter the information - the judge won't go looking for orders from another case, and except in very small towns, it's usually not the same judge. How much effect it has depends on the specific facts of the cases, including when the change is sought and the relationship he has with the older child.

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I would assume that my soon to be ex would not want it to be known the reasoning for the supervised visits nor do anything to impact custody of his other child, so I'd guess that he would try to make an agreement that he'd concede to supervised visits as long as our decree doesn't state why. My concern is for if / when he tries to petition the court for a change in visitation / custody of our child. How do i protect myself and more importantly my child?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Without knowing your ex, I suspect you're right, and you may be able to use that when negotiating.

If he were to petition for a change of visitation/custody, you would then be able to mention any abuse and neglect to the judge as long as the agreement doesn't prevent you from doing so.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
But would it look like I am lying?...that Im just coming up with an excuse to prevent unsupervised visits?....that if this was really going on, it wouldve been mentioned / stated in the initial agreement?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

It shouldn't. When you have an agreement, the reasoning behind it usually isn't part of the document. But if you're worried, you can hire a local attorney to draft it for you.