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Allegations may hurt actor's odds for joint child custody order

Does a criminal record mean than an individual can’t be a good parent? Most readers would say no, but does the type of crime make a difference in that analysis? These are some of the questions that may be raised during the upcoming divorce proceeding of “Scandal” actor Columbus Short.

The actor has two domestic abuse arrests to his record, apparently relating to his spouse. In addition, he was recently involved in an alleged fight at a restaurant-bar. The incident landed him with a charge of felony battery with serious body injury, for which the actor will likely have to prepare a strong criminal defense.   

In terms of his divorce, the actor’s wife has described an alleged third domestic violence incident in the divorce papers she filed. A court was apparently persuaded enough to grant her a temporary restraining order, and an upcoming hearing on May 6 will determine whether that order should be made permanent.

Although the actor might not object to permanently avoiding future contact with his wife after their divorce, the order might affect his parenting rights. The couple has a two-year-old daughter, and a court might question whether the actor’s allegedly violent tendencies could create a stable parenting environment.

As an attorney that focuses on divorce and family law is well aware, there are multiple factors that affect child custody determinations. In determining the best interests of a child, a court will evaluate the environment that each parent might be able to provide. Although it’s unlikely that the actor would be denied visitation rights, a court might be persuaded to grant his wife’s request for legal custody. 

Source: The Star-Ledger, “'Scandal' star Columbus Short hit with divorce papers, restraining order,” Vicki Hyman, April 17, 2014

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