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Allegations of abuse during a child custody matter

On Behalf of | May 26, 2021 | Child Custody |

Abusive relationships occur in Oregon and other states across the nation. In fortunate cases, a woman is able to escape the abuse; however, this does not always mean the fear of the abuse is over. When children are involved, the mother may express concerns regarding the safety of the child. While the court should consider this factor when establishing child custody, abuse allegations are not always taken seriously.

Allegations of abuse

Each year, hundreds of thousands of custody cases are handle across the United States. Many of these are resolved between parents; however, those that are unable to reach a resolution are often very complex matters, frequently involving allegations of abuse. These cases not only have the rights of the parents at stake but potentially the life of the child as well.

Based on a 2019 study where 27 custody cases where the abusers were awarded unsupervised visits despite the allegations of abuse, all of these were overturned when these allegations were later found to be valid. In some cases, this took several years to prove. Furthermore, it was discovered that in 78% of these cases, judges made their decision primarily because the parent who alleged abuse lacked credibility.

The dark side of custody battles

The reality is that custody battles are difficult, emotional and full of conflict. It can be challenging to differentiate between words that are fueled by emotions and those that are based on facts. This is often the challenge the courts face when addressing allegations of abuse. Whether it is domestic abuse against the other parent or child abuse against the child involved, judges need to assess all the factors while determining the best interests of the child. In some cases, this places a child in a life-or-death situation, and it can be difficult to discern when and if that is the case.

Parents seek to do what is best for their child. In some cases, what occurs behind closed doors is not addressed by the court. Nonetheless, parents should understand that they have options when there are concerns for abuse. This may mean seeking supervised visitation or altering a child custody order altogether. The goal is to meet the best interests of the child and ensure they are healthy, happy and safe.