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How to modify custody because of exposure to domestic violence

If you want to protect your child, you need to be prepared to seek a custody modification when the facts warrant it. There are several issues that can justify a motion to modify custody or visitation, but you must provide evidence to support your motion, which can be harder than it seems.

One common issue that often raises child custody concerns is domestic violence. But making bald assertions that your child has been exposed to domestic violence is going to be insufficient to make successful custody arguments. So, how do you present your case for modification?

Know the harm associated with exposure to domestic violence

Being exposed to domestic violence can cause a lot of harm to your child. In fact, it can result in any of the following ramifications:

  • An increased risk of being injured when they try to intervene in the violence
  • Feelings of guilt when they’re unable to protect the victim
  • Excessive fear that leaves them perpetually on edge
  • Development of sleeping issues
  • Decreased school performance
  • Social isolation
  • Increase in aggressive behaviors

And the impact of domestic violence exposure can be long-lasting, even impacting the types of relationships that your child develops into adulthood and how they problem-solve as they get older.

How to present evidence of domestic violence exposure

While there’s a lot at stake for your child in your custody modification hearing, you can’t just walk into court, make allegations, and hope to secure the outcome that’s best for your child. Here are some ways to gather evidence to support your motion:

  • Obtain police reports that detail the frequency and severity of the domestic violence to which your child has been exposed.
  • Talk to your child to get their own accounts of what they’ve seen and heard.
  • Have your child seen by a mental health professional who can speak to the impact the domestic violence exposure has had on your child.
  • Secure testimony from other witnesses who have observed the domestic violence and the impact that it’s had on your child.
  • Consider requesting a child custody evaluation that will give the court an unbiased perspective on each parent’s abilities and the safety of each household.

Remember, the more detail you can provide the better. And you’ll need to prove the domestic violence that’s occurred, that your child has been exposed to it, and how that exposure has negatively impacted your child. You’ll also need to articulate how your proposed custody arrangement is in your child’s best interests. So, take a holistic approach as you build your child custody arguments.

Don’t leave your child’s safety to chance in your child custody dispute

The outcome of your child custody modification hearing can have significant ramifications for your child’s safety and well-being, as well as their future. With so much at stake, you need to be thorough in building your legal arguments.

If that has you stressed, don’t worry. You can take the process one step at a time, which can simplify it and make it easier for you to build the case that you need. But if you still think that you need help developing your arguments, then be sure to discuss the matter with your attorney. By doing so, you’ll hopefully feel confident going into your hearing and advocating for an outcome that best protects your child.