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Divorce after domestic abuse: Seeking full custody of children

Experts often come out in support of shared parenting even after a divorce, noting that it can be important for children to continue to develop relationships with both parents. While this is true in many cases, there are some situations where it might be safer or healthier in the long run for someone to seek full custody of their children. One of those situations might be if one parent was abusing the other parent.

Divorce doesn't always end domestic abuse, especially in a coparenting situation. Research from the Leaderships Council notes that physical abuse continues for up to 40 months following a divorce in close to a third of cases that involved predivorce abuse. That means children continue to be exposed to that violence and stress.

Children can also become the victim of the abuse themselves, particularly if the parent who has always buffered the abuse is out of the picture during visitations. This is not always the case, but various studies have shown that the rate of abuse of children in such situations is as high as 50 percent. Other risks can include being kidnapped by the abusive parent or having custody awarded to the abusive parent after a legal battle.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you might simply want the fastest way out of the situation. Simply leaving the marriage in the least confrontational way possible doesn't always protect your children long-term, though, which is why you might want to seek legal assistance with a divorce after domestic violence. Family court isn't always the safe haven you might imagine it to be, which is why you need an experienced professional on your side to champion your interests.

Source: Divorced Moms, "When And Why You Should Seek Full Custody During Divorce," Julie Boyd Cole, accessed Oct. 14, 2016

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