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Domestic violence and child custody

California residents might be surprised to know that there are some common myths about domestic violence that might hurt the family if they are believed. Particularly in situations where children are involved, some of these common myths might result in the children continuing as victims.

One of the most common myths about domestic violence is that child custody will automatically be awarded to the non-abusing parent. While keeping children safe and making decisions with their best interest in mind is central to the courts, the non-abusing parent might not always be in an emotionally stable and healthy place to take care of the children. Therefore, the abused parent might not be found fit by the courts for taking care of the children.

Another myth is that after a couple separates, the children will be safe from the abusing parent. However, in some cases, the children continue to be victims or tools in the struggle between the parents. Some parents go as far as using their children to manipulate the other parent. Some experts believe that to keep children under four years of age safe, the children should not be forced into any overnight visits with the non-custodial parent at all since these might affect the child’s emotional development.

The dangers and consequences of domestic violence can truly impact children’s lives. Some children develop PTSD and continue to deal with the effects long into adulthood. If a parent is seeking a separation or divorce and domestic violence is one of the factors involved, the parent should seek to educate themselves about the issue and might benefit from the experience and knowledge of a family law lawyer, who can provide information about divorce legislation and explain the options available for keeping the children in such a situation safe.