Domestic violence is a central aspect in divorce cases in New Jersey, particularly when children are involved. Many people believe that its presence means the court will make an obvious ruling against the spouse accused of violence, this is not always the case. The even bigger problem is that believing certain myths about domestic violence actually hurts the families involved in their journey to emotional health and contribute to the continuation of the abuse, sometimes creating situations where a child who has been a victim or who has witnessed it develops PTSD, which can manifest even in adulthood.
One of the beliefs that people have about domestic violence is that custody of any children involved will automatically be granted to the abused spouse. However, this is not the case, as sometimes the battered spouse might not be emotionally able to take care of the children. Courts will always look at the best interests of the child, but the court’s decision might not be as clear-cut as many believe when it comes to child custody.
Another myth believed by many is that once the domestic violence case begins, the children of the couple involved will be safe from the abusing parent. However, what experts have found is that in many cases, the children become manipulated tools in the war between the parents, continuing as victims of psychological abuse. Some experts recommend that children under the age of four should not even spend overnight visits with the non-custodial parent, to ensure that they continue to develop emotionally and feel secure.
A parent who is seeking a divorce from an abusing spouse might benefit from the guidance and support a family law attorney can offer with regards to seeking sole physical and legal child custody. An attorney can often recommend support groups and other services while preparing a petition for a protective order.