Family law issues can be extremely emotional. Add the dangerous, extreme element of domestic violence and the legal process of divorce tends to become packed with even more feelings, including fear, anger and desperation.
But if domestic abuse occurs within a family unit, it is certainly a reason why someone would want a divorce and want to fight for child custody. The process in such a situation, however, should be handled with caution, effective planning and the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.
According to a recent study of children’s brains, a non-abusive parent now has even more reason to aggressively fight for child custody if their ex (the other parent) engages in domestic violence or puts the child in a violent environment. The study equates a child who experiences violence to a soldier who has witnessed war.
Researchers showed pictures to kids and found that kids who have experienced violent environments reacted differently than those who hadn’t when they saw a picture of an angry face. Their brains became more active in certain areas in the same way that many soldiers’ brains do.
The unusual brain activity reportedly is connected with a higher rate of depression and other mental illness down the road. Therefore, not only is a child in immediate danger when living in a household with domestic violence, but his future mental well-being is also at-risk by living in an angry, violent environment.
Fighting for child custody can be the best way to get a child out of a violent environment, but it’s important to have all of the legal support to get through the process as safely as possible. That means not only relying on an attorney but law enforcement and possibly a restraining order as well.
Reuters: “Study finds how child abuse changes the brain,” Kate Kelland, Dec. 5, 2011