Family courts are required to hold an penitentiary hearing where the person seeking custody is alleged to have committed an act of domestic violence “against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child.” If the Family Court determines that an act of domestic violence has been committed, this “Creates a rebut table presumption that sole or joint custody of the child by the perpetrator of the domestic violence is not in the best interest of the child.” If you share custody of a child or are in a deteriorating marriage where a future custody order is a possibility, it is imperative that you take your domestic violence charge seriously and retain an attorney to defend your interests.
Simply being accused of domestic violence (not convicted) could have legal consequences on your ability to own or possess a firearm. If the Court is satisfied that an act of domestic violence has occurred “or there exists a threat of domestic violence,” the Court may order the “surrender, sell or transfer of any firearm” in your “possession, custody or control.” These orders can have immediate consequences that force you to dispose of your firearm(s) within 24 hours of service of the order. The order can also prohibit you from possessing or having under your custody or control any firearm while the order is in effect. If you are criminally convicted of domestic violence, the Court is required to notify you that possession, shipment, transportation or receipt of a firearm or ammunition may constitute a felony. Finally, an application for a concealed weapons permit or an existing concealed weapons permit is required to be denied or revoked if the sheriff determines that the applicant or permittee has been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence or is currently subject to a restraining order, injunction or other order for protection against domestic violence.