Today's divorcing spouses increasingly figure out a settlement for child custody that works for both parents. However, not all custody agreements are adhered to, and not all parents are willing to make an agreement in the first place. If you are going through a custody battle, you may need assistance. Finding child custody help can make it easier for you to get or retain custody of your children even if your spouse has made allegations against you. It can be hard to know who to turn to for child custody help, but this guide can explain your options and how to find help with your child custody dispute.
Domestic Violence and Abuse
Abusive, violent homes can lead to psychological problems for an entire family. If your ex-spouse was abusive to your or your children, you may want to seek not only sole custody, but a restraining order that will allow you to continue parenting without interference or visitation from the other parent. Because abusers often make their victims feel powerless, or make threats against their spouse or children, you may feel trapped and unable to seek child custody help.
The good news is, if you're facing domestic violence, you may be able to find help at no cost to you. Many local domestic violence victim advocacy organizations and women's shelters offer abused women and children support services. You may be able to find not only child custody help during your hearings, but also support to obtain a restraining order and file it with the court.
Parental Alienation Syndrome
When divorce gets contentious, not all allegations are as they seem. It can be hard for parents to seek child custody help when one parent has falsely accused the other of abuse. In some cases, one parent even “brainwashes” the children into acting out against an ex-spouse.
When children turn away from a parent because of the actions of their other parent, it may be a relatively recently understood phenomenon called “parental alienation syndrome.” Most commonly, this syndrome involves children feeling alienated from their fathers. You may need child custody help from a father's rights group if you suspect your child is suffering from PAS.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Not all child custody cases require legal representation, but lawyers are one of the best sources of child custody help that you can find. You may want to find a lawyer who can help you to understand the effects of domestic violence or PAS on the court system, and how you can make your case understandable to the judge.
Another circumstance where you may need to talk to a lawyer for child custody help is if one spouse is relocating. Most of the time, if a parent who is the primary caretaker of a child wishes to move—across town or across the country—the judge will allow it. This is doubly true when a parent wishes to move to take a better-paying job opportunity or otherwise provide better for their child. You may wish to talk to a lawyer for child custody help and to better understand the likely outcome of your case.