Although Nebraska law generally presumes that a dad should have liberal parenting time and a considerable say in how his child is raised, even when he does not care for the child most of the time, there are exceptions to this rule.
One such exception is if the judge hearing the custody case finds that a dad has either abused the child or has committed an act of domestic violence against the other parent. If the court determines that abuse of this nature has indeed occurred, then the court may order restrictions like supervised visits or a ban on overnight parenting time.
The court can also order that, during visits, a dad’s relatives and friends must stay away from the child. The dad may also be ordered to undergo counseling or accept other services and may have to avoid alcohol altogether prior to and during his visits.
In order to place restrictions on a dad, a judge need only find that abuse occurred by what the law refers to as a preponderance of the evidence. In plain English, this means a dad need not be convicted of or even charged with a crime, or, for that matter, have a protective order entered against him, before he can have his visits restricted. Moreover, once a judge does make a finding that abuse occurred, it is incumbent on the father to prove that unrestricted parenting time will not be harmful to the child.
Nebraska dads who are facing allegations of domestic violence, especially if these allegations are fabricated or exaggerated in order for the child’s mother to get an edge in a custody proceeding, need to take appropriate steps to defend their legal rights or otherwise will risk an uphill battle in maintaining a relationship with their children.