What Happens After a “Family Violence Death?”


It was recently reported that “family violence deaths” were on the rise in Georgia. According to the report, over 212 family violence deaths occurred in 2021 alone – representing an almost 50% increase since 2020. Some attribute this to the pandemic, while others point out that there are many other factors to consider. Either way, everyone – especially parents – can agree that this is a worrying statistic. While the victims of these crimes represent tragic deaths, the surviving children in the family may also suffer lifelong consequences. 

But what happens after these deaths from a legal standpoint? What happens when one parent is in prison for murder and the other parent is deceased? How can a family law attorney in Georgia help families deal with this situation?

What is the Definition of a Family Violence Death?

A family violence death is defined as a murder that takes place between people who are: “lawfully married, have lived together, or lawfully related by family.” This might include a parent murdering another parent, a parent murdering another child, a sibling murdering another sibling, or even a child murdering a parent (although children are unlikely to face the same consequences as adults for this crime). 

What Happens to the Children?

The most immediate issue for the children in these situations is the psychological impact of witnessing the murder (or at least experiencing its consequences). According to various studies, these experiences may remain with children for the rest of their lives. After addressing these psychological issues, the next priority is moving the children into a stable family environment. An obvious choice is to have another family member – such as an aunt or grandparent – adopt the children. A family law attorney can help streamline the adoption process and move the children into a safe setting as quickly as possible. 

Will a Parent Still Have Visitation Rights if They Murdered the Other Parent?

If a parent has murdered their ex, they will likely spend most of their remaining life in prison. But will they still have the right to visit with their children? The answer is usually no, as the state will intervene in these serious situations – typically terminating parental rights for good. This means that surviving children will not be forced to visit their surviving parent in prison. Even when the parent is released, it is unlikely that they will have any right to see their children. Of course, once the child turns 18, they may choose to visit their parent if they wish. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the Georgia area for an experienced family law attorney, look no further than Lankford & Moore Law. Over the years, we have helped families get through the most difficult times – whether it is divorce, death, domestic abuse, or any other issue that might be impacting you. Book your consultation today to learn how we can help.


I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder. The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby — not even money, certainly not my soul.

Mahatma Gandhi

Lankford & Moore Law in Downtown Lawrenceville

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