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Fighting for child custody after years of domestic violence

Finding the strength to leave an abusive relationship is one of the hardest things that many people in Florida will ever have to do. Once they are out of the home and getting back on their feet, the abusive partner will have fewer chances to upset, harass or intimidate the victim of domestic violence. However, for those who share one or more children with their abuser, having to deal with his or her behavior can go on for many years.

For an abusive individual, child custody offers yet another means of controlling, harassing and intimidating his or her victim. Few things are more stressful than the fear of losing access to one's child. During a custody case, an abusive ex will often go to great lengths to make the process miserable. That includes threatening to "take the kids away" and to drag the process out for as long as possible.

When faced with this kind of challenge, parents are advised to do everything in their power to approach the issue in a businesslike manner. That is far easier said than done, but allowing excessive displays of emotion to enter into the process will not suit anyone's goals. In fact, an abusive partner and his or her attorney can use that emotion to suggest that the parent who is upset is also unbalanced and unfit to parent.

While preparing for court, it can be helpful to look at the event in the same way as the judge and other legal professionals. Court is simply a place in which a neutral third party will review the evidence and testimony, and make a determination on child custody that is in line with Florida law and with the best interests of the child. To fare well, parties should focus on presenting the best possible legal argument, and reduce the impact that emotion will have during a custody hearing, even after years of domestic violence.

Source: sentinel-standard.com, "Let's Talk About It: Child custody lawyer's advice to help moms succeed", March 4, 2017

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