Documentary Highlights Issues Surrounding Abuse And Child Custody

When a mother fled the United States with her three children, she most likely did not realize that one day her life story would be portrayed in a documentary about divorce, child custody and domestic abuse. However, hoping to bring these types of issues into the public eye, one producer released “No Way Out But One.”

In this woman’s case, even though she claimed physical abuse by her husband, he was granted custody of their children. Worried about what would happen under his custody, she decided to take matters into her own hands and fled the U.S. She ended up being granted asylum in the Netherlands, but not after first being considered an international fugitive with kidnapping charges pressed against her.

Her story brings up the heart-wrenching question of just how could a mother lose custody to a man who was accused of abusing his own children?

In this court case, the producer of the documentary points to the fact that in the courtroom the mother was accused of being an alienating parent. This feeds into the idea of Parental Alienation Syndrome, which basically claims that if a child makes abuse allegations against a parent during a divorce, the allegations are probably not true and the child is just siding with a parent. PAS has been rejected by many respected psychiatric associations and the American Medical Association, yet some courts still reportedly rely on it.

Of course, after this documentary aired, many have also come out saying it is a story against fathers. Yet, the producer is quick to point out there are plenty of fathers who are great loving parents. Rather, this is about the small percentage of abusive parents who still end up with custody.

It should be noted, the abuser can be the mother or father.

This story is important for parents in the New Jersey area who are contemplating divorce where domestic abuse is an issue. Domestic abuse allegations can make child custody issues that much more complex, which is why it is necessary to have an experienced attorney who knows how to handle such a case.

Source: Huffington Post, “No Way Out But One: Custody, Abuse and the Family Courts,” Nancy Doyle Palmer, Oct. 26, 2012

  • Our firm handles all types of family law issues, including cases where abuse and child custody are of concern. Do not just take matters into your own hands. Rather, learn more by visiting our New Jersey child custody page.