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How domestic abuse can impact child custody cases

For women who have gone through an abusive relationship, few things are more stressful than having to share a child with their abuser. Unfortunately, however, that is the case for many Texas mothers. Understanding how domestic abuse can impact a child custody case is critical to avoiding some of the more common pitfalls that abuse victims encounter.

Abuse, whether physical or emotional, takes a terrible toll on victims. When faced with a custody challenge, these mothers often respond in a highly emotional manner. While that is understandable, it is certainly not conducive to the highly structured nature of the child custody courtroom. Mothers who have been subjected to abuse must make every effort to approach the matter as though it were a business deal, and to actively control their emotions throughout the procedure.

Another issue that many domestic violence victims face is a claim made by the other party that the victim has serious emotional or psychological issues that make them an unfit parent. In reality, a great deal of the emotional or psychological damage is the direct result of the abusive relationship, and that damage can be repaired through therapy and other healthy measures. However, mothers must be prepared to show that any counseling or other services they receive are a direct response to the abuse, and not indicative of a lack of parental fitness.

Navigating the child custody process with an abusive former partner can be tricky. Texas mothers who are facing such an obstacle should begin by selecting a family law attorney who is well versed in cases that involve domestic violence. Having a trusted advocate there to guide and inform the process can make a world of difference to parent who has already lived through significant challenge and adversity.

Source: sentinel-standard.com, "Let's Talk About It: Child custody lawyer's advice to help moms succeed", March 4, 2017

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