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Child custody can affected by substance abuse, domestic violence

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2021 | Child Custody And Support |

Divorce can be the cause of much emotional and financial stress. Couples in Missouri facing this life-altering process, have much decision-making on their plates that can pose great challenges, but none as much so as when there are disagreements over child custody. There are many factors that come into play when it comes to what is the best interests of children — the major standard upon which a family court judge will base his or her decision.

If a child has been exposed to domestic violence and/or substance abuse, a decision may be simpler. Parents and a judge need to work to reach an agreement which keeps the children in mind first and foremost, and no judge will award custody of children to a parent who has a history of being abusive or who has serious substance abuse issues.

Evidence to show how children may be affected

It’s vital to show a family court judge how a child has been affected by violence and substance abuse. Children who are exposed to these negatives may develop:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • a feeling of responsibility since many of these children take on a parental role
  • problems in school
  • aggression
  • unable to form and sustain healthy relationships

In these situations, a child’s physical and mental safety can be threatened both short and long-term. This is why, in many of these instances, parents cannot negotiate a child custody agreement. It can be a very stressful time.

Answers to pressing child custody concerns — such as when domestic violence and substance abuse are part of the scenario — may be found from a Missouri lawyer experienced in family law. Legal guidance is crucial, especially where children are concerned. It is absolutely necessary to be prepared to fight for the custody of a child who has been exposed to negative situations.

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St. Louis County Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
LEX | The Missouri Bar