Addressing domestic violence in your child custody case
Domestic violence is more common than many people think. While such violence is of course dangerous for any direct victim, it can also be harmful to witnesses, including children. The sad reality is that children observe as much as 80% of domestic assaults, and the effects can be devastating. So, if you’re in the midst of a custody and visitation dispute and domestic violence is a concern, then you need to know about these effects, the potential harm they can cause to your child, and how to fight to protect your child.
The effects of exposure to domestic violence
Domestic Violence is a stark event in a child’s life. As a result, memories of the violence become implanted and can affect nearly every aspect of a child’s life. Here are just a few of the concerning developments that can occur after a child witnesses domestic violence:
- Feelings of abandonment
- Extreme sadness
- Overwhelming guilt
- Emotional distancing
- Poor cognitive development
- Stunted emotional development
- Poor social development
- Poor school performance
- Aggressive behavior
- Increased risk of being abused or neglected
Any one of these issues could be devastating to your child’s well-being, but the truth of the matter is that a lot of kids who experience domestic violence suffer from more than just one of these challenges.
How to fight for your child
If reading this post has you worried about your child’s safety or angry at your child’s other parent for exposing your child to a harmful situation, then you should channel your emotions into a plan that fights for your child. This might mean speaking to witnesses who can testify as to the violence, obtaining police reports and criminal records, and discussing the impact of domestic violence exposure with your child’s therapist if he or she has one. You’ll need to know how to present all of this evidence in a persuasive manner, too, which is critically important given that the judge might not know much about you and your family.
Find help when you need it
We know that child custody matters can be stressful. After all, there’s a lot at stake. But help is available. If you choose to work with an attorney on your case, you might find that your arguments rest in good hands and you can make the fully informed decisions that are right for you and your child. Hopefully then you can achieve an outcome that puts your child first.
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