It is an unfortunate fact that many Texas parents are the victims of domestic violence. Physical and emotional abuse can affect both the parent as well as the young children who are exposed to it. In many cases, it can lead not only to confusion but to a child's development of post-traumatic stress syndrome.
If the victim decides to separate from the abusive partner with a view towards filing for divorce, the domestic violence can have an impact on a subsequent possession order issued by a court as well. However, the results can sometime be quite different from what most observers would expect to be the case. Judges make these decisions based upon what they believe to be in the child's best interests. The problem is that many victims become so traumatized by what they have gone through that they are unable to provide sufficient care to their children. As a result, courts have in fact on occasion granted possession to the abusive parent.
In other cases where a divorce action has not yet been finalized, parents might use their children as props in what they perceive to be a marital war. An author of parenting books has stated that children under the age of 4 should not be allowed to have overnight visits with the parent who has not been the primary caregiver until the issue has been resolved by a court.
Domestic violence is not just a family law issue. It can lead to criminal charges being filed against the abuser. However, even a parent who does not want to pursue that avenue might find that the assistance of a family law attorney can be helpful at these times. Legal counsel can help in petitioning the court for a protective order and can often suggest community resources that may be able to find the victim and children a place to stay if necessary while a divorce is pending.