There are many common myths that come to mind when it comes to child custody battles that revolve around abusive relationships. Domestic violence can lead to post-traumatic stress in children, which can become a life-long issue. One of the most dangerous misconceptions about child custody and domestic violence is that a separation is all it takes to ensure that children are safe from an abusive parent.
In many domestic abuse cases, the abusive parent uses the children to manipulate and control the other parent. Kids often become caught in the crossfire of a war between parents. Experts recommend that children under the age of 4 should always remain with the primary caregiver overnight to help maintain a sense of security.
Another common myth is that the non-abusive parent will automatically obtain custody. The group Violence Against Women explains that many victims of domestic violence do not actually have custody of their children. In many cases, the victim of abuse may not be in an adequate emotional state to properly care for their children. Courts prioritize the best interest of the children over the needs of the parents. Unfortunately, this sometimes means denying custody to the abused parent.
Victims of abuse may benefit from consulting a lawyer who has experience with child custody cases. Working with a lawyer may reduce the amount of contact the abused parent has with the former spouse. A lawyer might also help negotiate agreements such as child support payments and advocate for the client's parental rights.