Domestic violence is something that about 15.5 million children witness every year. Oftentimes, violence is what leads to an abused partner filing for divorce and custody over the children. It is then left up to the court to decide which parent gets physical custody over the children involved.
When you are actively fleeing from an abusive partner, child custody cases become highly complex and downright stressful. Knowing the ins and outs of these cases can help you figure out how to win one.
How Evidence Impacts Court Decisions
Whether accusations are recent or from months or even years ago, they can impact a child custody case. If one parent has been accused of domestic violence, the court might deny them physical custody since this could pose a danger to the child or the child’s other parent.
Know What Courts Consider
Before you go before the judge, know what types of evidence the court is going to consider prior to the final decision. Factors typically examined by the court include whether the alleged domestic violence instances involved or were directed at the children, whether the abusive partner is still a threat to the child or other parent, how severe and/or frequent the abuse is/was, if police reports were filed, if there is any tangible evidence (such as photographs), and whether the accused abuser has a pending criminal trial.
It is essential that you keep thorough records of the abuse endured at the hands of an abusive partner. Any medical records, photographs, or even text messages between yourself and your abuser can help the court come to a decision weighed more heavily in your (and your children’s) favor. Keep notes with the dates and descriptions of the abuse, even if it was emotional – and not physical – abuse.
Have a Safety Plan
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, police departments and domestic violence organizations have reported a rise in instances of domestic violence. While sheltering in place, your abusive partner might have become more agitated and amped up the violence, causing you to flee.
Despite current issues, you need to have a plan in place to keep yourself and your children safe from the abusive partner. Save as much cash as you can, build your safety net of people you trust, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The more you do, the more the judge might see that you are striving to keep your children safe.
Hiring a Forensic Psychiatrist
Forensic psychiatrists can be crucial to winning a child custody case against an abusive partner. In cases of emotional and psychological abuse, there is much less physical evidence to support a case. Unlike the bruises and physical damage caused by physical abuse, the more common type of abuse is invisible. Forensic psychiatrists help make that invisible evidence presentable to the court through their psychology expertise. They can testify before the court as to the severity of the abuse, how long it was endured, and the impact it has had on you and your children.
If you are fleeing from an abusive partner with your children in tow, know that there is help. You can win full custody over the children, but expect to hire a lawyer. You might also want to consider hiring a forensic psychiatrist to work with you on your case. Both physical and mental abuse are incredibly damaging and all evidence needs to be recorded to support your case.
Author information: Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.