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Domestic violence does not ensure sole custody

Survivors of domestic abuse often assume that when they leave an abusive relationship, sole custody will be automatically awarded to the non-offending parent. Many have found this not to be the case, and the abuser often uses the children and the court system to continue to exert control over the relationship and the abused. Connecticut domestic violence survivors may find hope in a congressional resolution that has been introduced that would minimize, if not eliminate, coercive control.

A woman who reconnected with her son's estranged father learned of his controlling and violent nature after they decided to get married. The emotional and physical violence was expressed not only to her but also to their son. When the teenager defended his mother against his father, the man began to strangle the boy, and police were called to remove the man from the property. 

After filing for a divorce, the woman began to receive phone calls from other women who were also in custody battles with her soon-to-be ex-husband. She learned how the abuser was using the system to continue to exert control by seeking custodial rights over the children. As most family courts seek to keep the children at the center of the relationship and provide a secure future with both parents through co-parenting, allegations of abuse are often overlooked.

Domestic violence may be present in any relationship, regardless of the social status, ethnic background or upbringing of either spouse. Individuals in Connecticut who find themselves victims of domestic violence may seek to sever the ties with their abuser and obtain sole custody of their children. A family law attorney with experience in not only child custody but also domestic violence can help a victim to understand how parental rights are extended in a court of law and seek the best outcome possible.

Source: psmag.com, "For Abuse Survivors, Custody Remains a Means by Which Their Abusers Can Retain Control", Natalie Pattillo, March 29, 2018

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