Child custody disputes are always stressful and emotional for the parties involved. They become more so when one parent believes that the other parent is abusive and poses a risk to the child's wellbeing.
In the case of one child, both the mother and the child claimed that his father was abusive and even sexually molesting the child. The father, of course, denied these allegations. Although the court elected not to believe the boy or his mother, neither of them ever retracted their claims of sexual abuse by the father.
When his father was granted sole custody, the boy began posting YouTube videos asking for help and eventually ran away from home at the age of 14. Since he could not escape the court's decision regarding custody, he took the only step he could to emancipate himself and avoid the custody issue entirely -- at 16, he went to Nevada and got married.
Most child custody issues do not involve serious allegations of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, but when those concerns are present, the best interests of the child must be protected. For a parent who suspects that a joint custody agreement or visitation with the other parent would put the child at risk for abuse, trying to navigate the court system alone may be confusing and difficult.
If you have concerns about the safety of your child in regards to a custody decision, you may wish to consult with an attorney who can help you resolve a child custody dispute and protect your rights and the rights of your child.
Source: Washington Times, "Damon's Story: Are Family Courts enabling child sexual abusers?" Claire O'Toole, June 26, 2013