Child custody disputes can be enormously stressful. If you’re facing this situation, then you’re probably worried about your child’s safety and wellbeing as well as your relationship with him or her. When you’re unable to resolve a child custody dispute with your child’s other parent, a judge will decide the matter based on what he or she feels is in the child’s best interests. This leaves a lot of room for argument, so you’ll want to make sure that you have the evidence you need to support your position.
Don’t overlook the impact of emotional abuse
A lot of people who end up in a child custody dispute focus on major issues such as a lack of a parent-child relationship, substance abuse, domestic violence, and financial instability. While each of these can be critically important to your case, there’s another factor that you shouldn’t overlook: emotional abuse.
Emotional child abuse can take many forms, and it can span the spectrum of severity. Belittling language and insults can certainly constitute emotional abuse, but even failing to interact with a child and make him or her feel secure can cause emotional deprivation.
The effects of emotional abuse are alarming, too. To start, a victim of emotional abuse can experience attachment issues not just with their abuser, but with others as well. A victim can also develop aggressive behavior that affects their social skills and could even put them at risk of perpetrating abuse on others. Emotional abuse can also lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Know how to prove your case
Emotional abuse is a slippery subject because you don’t always have concrete symptoms that are easy to interpret. That’s why it might be wise to have a therapist or other mental health professional testify as to how emotional abuse has affected your child and what’s at stake if he or she continues to be exposed to an abusive environment. Of course, you’ll also want to gather evidence that shows that abusive behavior exists, which might require you to speak to numerous witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
As stressful and frightening as a child custody dispute can seem, there is hope for you and your child’s future. You simply need to be prepared for the legal challenges ahead of you. Fortunately, skilled family law professionals stand ready to give you the one-on-one attention your case needs and deserves.