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Child custody cases involving abuse are challenging

According to a recent study by the American Bar Association, children may be an unwitting tool an abuser uses to control his or her spouse. This kind of manipulation is one reason why child custody cases involving domestic violence may be difficult for courts in Louisiana and across the country to decide. According to child advocates, it may also be one reason why some children struggle emotionally even into adulthood.

Children of abusive parents may bond with the abuser as a method of survival. Some therapists compare this to Stockholm syndrome in which a victim’s devotion to an abuser prevents him or her from seeing the abuser in a negative light. People who abuse their spouses may use the childrens’ devotion to intimidate their victims until the victims become so traumatized, a judge may see them as unfit and award custody to the abusers.

When a child has witnessed violence between parents, the child may suffer the same emotional effects as if the violence had been inflicted on him or her. According to studies, that kind of scar does not easily heal. In fact, a child growing up in an abusive home may face a lifetime of health problems, including depression and addiction. In adulthood, those children are 74 times more prone to acts of violence.

These potential long-term effects may be why so many parents want to protect their children from the custody of the abusive parent. In Louisiana, parents turn to a lawyer with experience in domestic violence and child custody cases. A dedicated attorney will help a parent work toward the best possible outcome for his or her situation.

Source:, “Let’s Talk About It: 5 myths about child custody and domestic violence“, Sept. 18, 2016

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