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Facing an abusive partner during a child custody case

Leaving an abusive situation is one of the most difficult challenges that a Colorado resident can face. When the abusive partner also shares a child with the victim, things can become even more complicated. Many parents simply remain in an abusive situation for fear that they will lose access to their child if they try to leave the relationship. Others will decide that they simply cannot stay, and will enter into a child custody case with their former partner.

Unfortunately, a child custody case presents a brand new opportunity for an abusive partner to exert control over the other party. Things become even more tense, due to the fact that there are few things more important to a parent than the safety and well-being of their child. Faced with a custody fight, many victims of domestic violence are unsure where to begin.

It is critical to find a way to avoid overt displays of emotion while in court, which is far easier said than done. However, when an individual loses control of his or her emotions, the court struggles to fully understand the matters at hand. There is limited time to present one's case in court, and every moment counts. In addition, it is very common for the abusive spouse to try and paint a portrait of the other parent as mentally unstable or unbalanced; remaining calm helps to counter such claims.

Colorado parents who are preparing for a child custody case against an abusive parent should begin by selecting a family law attorney who is well-versed in domestic violence issues. That can go a long way toward avoiding some of the more common pitfalls that can arise in these cases. It is also helpful to have a trusted advisor to turn to with any questions or concerns that might arise as the process plays out.

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

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