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Dealing with child custody and domestic violence

When Minnesota children grow up in homes where domestic violence incidents are commonplace, it is more likely that they may grow up mimicking those behaviors and becoming abusers themselves. Even separated families are not immune to this, especially if one parent consistently badmouths the other parent.

In addition to showing these types of behaviors, many children end up blaming the non-abusive parent for splitting up the family. Some end up feeling like they must protect the non-abusive parent or feel as if they are responsible for managing the abusive parent's anger. This can result in anger problems, depression and low self-esteem. Children in abusive situations are also more likely to do poorly in school, become involved in juvenile crime and abuse drugs or alcohol.

While it seems like removing the children from these abusive situations would be best for the child, family courts still often only look at physical abuse. Even if the child makes allegations against a parent, the child is often not believed. If the accusations are validated, the evidence is often excluded from the child custody evaluation reports. In many cases, this leads to the abuser asking for full physical and legal custody in order to continue to have control over the other parent.

If two parents separated as a result of domestic violence issues, determining who the child will live with is extremely important for their well-being. If an abusive parent is seeking physical custody of the child, a family law attorney may assist the other parent with providing evidence demonstrating that giving custody to the other parent would cause harm to the child.

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Juvenile Criminal
Defense Strategies

Christa Jacqueline Groshek
© 2012 Aspatore Books from
Thomson Reuters Westlaw.
Reproduced by permission