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The effect of domestic violence on a child’s well-being

For many Virginians, there is nothing more important to them than their children. When divorce or other issues arise between parents, children can be adversely affected. Although Virginia’s family law courts seek to determine what is in the children’s best interests when issuing orders regarding child custody and visitation, those orders are granted based on the information provided by the child’s parents. Therefore, parents seeking sole custody or who are trying to restrict the other parent’s access to the child need to present compelling evidence to support their position.

For example, if domestic violence is common in one parent’s household, then it behooves the other parent to present evidence to that effect and demonstrate how the child will be negatively impacted by that violence. To start, studies have shown that children who live in a home where domestic violence occurs are much more likely to be subjected to physical abuse.

However, the effects of domestic violence on a child doesn’t stop there. On the emotional front, exposure to domestic violence can wreak havoc on a child’s well-being. They may develop a fear of being hurt or abandoned, an ongoing sense of sadness or guilt, and poor judgment. These children can also distance themselves emotionally from their parents and their peers. These children are also at elevated risks of developing cognitive and verbal issues, self-harming behaviors, and other aggressive behaviors.

The young mind is a fragile thing. Exposing one to domestic violence can be forever damaging. This is why parents who believe that their children are being exposed to domestic violence while spending time with their other parent should consider taking legal action to remedy the situation. A skilled family law attorney can help develop legal strategies to present compelling legal arguments to justify sole physical custody or limited visitation for the noncustodial parent.