Heymann & Fletcher

Winning child custody against an abusive parent

For parents who are fighting a custody battle against an abusive partner, the experience can be overwhelming. Unless there is irrefutable evidence of abuse or criminal charges in the matter, there is no guarantee that a New Jersey parent will prevail in court. This type of child custody battle requires a different approach, as the results can have devastating consequences for the kids at the center of the matter.  

The first thing to consider when attempting to protect kids from abuse is the evidence that can be used to support the case. It is an unfortunate reality that there are some parents who will fabricate allegations of abuse in order to gain an upper hand in court. For that reason, family court judges take a very skeptical approach to claims of abuse, and will require significant evidence before restricting a parent's right to visit with his or her child. Clearly documented evidence of past abuse can be helpful in court, but this level of evidence is not always available.

Parents can also work with a counselor or physician to determine if a child has been subjected to sexual or physical abuse. The testimony of those professionals can make a world of difference in the outcome of a case. Eyewitness testimony from someone other than the parent is also helpful, such as a teacher or daycare worker who has observed bruises, or to whom a child has confided concerning abuse.

When it comes to this type of child custody case, there is no such thing as being over-prepared. New Jersey parents must understand that the outcome of a custody case will have a lasting impact on a child. It should also be noted that it is often easier to get accommodations such as supervised visitation in the initial child custody hearing than it is to re-approach the court at a later time to ask for a modification.

Source: salon.com, "Custody in crisis: How family courts nationwide put children in danger", Laurie Udesky, Dec. 11, 2016

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Heymann & Fletcher
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