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Verbal abuse and custody rights

If a child has been physically abused by a parent, it may be relatively easy for the other parent to gain primary, if not sole, custody of the children in a custody battle and perhaps require only supervised visitation. However, what if the other parent has been verbally abusive to the child, without actually striking him or her?

That can be a more challenging fight in family court. Verbal abuse generally does not fall under the umbrella of domestic violence, nor is verbal abuse alone a criminal offense. However, as anyone who has experienced it knows all too well, verbal abuse can be every bit as destructive to a young person as physical abuse.

While verbal abuse can eventually lead to physical abuse, a judge can only rule based on what has occurred thus far. It's easy to ask why the other parent didn't step in to stop it. However, that parent may have suffered physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse as well and may not be in a proper state of mind to stop the abuse of the children in the family.

If you are divorcing your spouse and that spouse has a history of verbal and/or emotional abuse toward your children that makes that person someone who should have limited custody or visitation rights to your children, it's essential that you discuss the issue with your New York family law attorney. Your attorney can advise you about what kind of evidence you need to present in court and what actions you can take to protect the well-being of your children.

Source: HealthyPlace, "Verbal Abuse and Child Custody in Family Court," accessed June 15, 2017

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