My son and daughter have told me that their stepfather is violent and emotionally abusive.
Will the court hear their testimony and listen to their statements without a police report?
How can I get full custody?
In most states, such as Virginia where I practice, custody of children can be modified based on a material change of circumstances and showing that the change is in the children’s best interests.
When a judge is deciding custody and visitation, he or she is making a decision based on the best interests of the children. Most states have a specific list of factors that the judge has to consider when looking at the best interests of your children.
In Virginia, a child’s preference is one factor the judge can consider. However, the child must have reasonable preferences and be of reasonable age — there is no bright-line age at which a child is deemed able to make a decision.
In some states, judges also do not like to have children testify, depending on their ages. You may not be able to tell the judge what your children said, as some of their statements may be considered hearsay.
You should talk to an attorney about the best strategy to get your children’s statements into evidence.
Another factor that judges consider is siblings. Your son and daughter’s relationship is really important, so if the judge finds that it is in one child’s best interests that custody be transferred, the judge will consider the impact of changing custody of both versus separating the children.
If you can prove that the stepfather is actually verbally abusive towards the children, it would be likely that custody of both children would change.
I recommend that you talk to any attorney in your state about the specifics of modifying custody , as well as the best way to introduce evidence of your children’s statements.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney in Virginia, contact Cordell & Cordell.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”