Above all, the court wants children to be safe. If you can show that your child may not be safe with the other parent, the court will probably not give custody to that parent.
For example, the court will not give custody to a parent who
- has been violent,
- has a criminal record,
- abuses drugs or alcohol,
- has abused the child or other children,
- has abused the other parent within the last five years, or
- does not come to court when ordered.
If your child is in danger with the other parent now or the other parent took the child in a violent way, you can ask the police to give you a temporary order that keeps the other parent away from the child for five to seven days.
You can do this even if you don’t have a visitation order. After you ask for this order, you must ask the court for another order that lasts even longer.
You can also make sure to establish no visitation with the other parent for the time being, or ask the court to make orders that would keep the child safe such as supervised visitation if visitation is required.