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Couples grow apart over time, go through difficult financial situations or experience infidelity, and those difficult times may lead to divorce. In many families, both spouses play a direct role in the damage to the relationship over time. However, there are also scenarios where one spouse holds most of all of the fault, such as situations where one spouse abuses the other.

Leaving an abusive marriage isn’t easy in the best of circumstances. While having children is a blessing, parenthood can absolutely complicate the process of getting yourself out of an abusive situation. You obviously don’t want your children to face the same abuse you’re trying to escape, which could mean that you need to seek sole custody in your divorce.

The courts don’t want to place kids in a dangerous situation

The Washington family courts want to make custody decisions that reflect the best interests of the children. Although they typically want to give both parents a substantial role in the lives of the kids, in circumstances that involve documented abuse, the courts may determine that protecting the children from the abusive parents is in their best interest.

Unfortunately, in order to convince the courts of the abuse you’ve suffered, you will generally need some kind of evidence, documentation or corroboration for your claims. The good news here is that there are many kinds of evidence, beyond your own testimony, that can help you convince the courts to limit your ex’s access to the children for safety’s safe.

Medical and police records can help

If the abuse you suffered has been so severe that your injuries required medical attention or that you or someone else called police for help in an escalating situation, that unfortunate scenario can help you by providing official documentation of your spouse’s behavior.

Other forms of evidence if you don’t have official records

Many people who experience abuse go out of their way to avoid alerting others to their situation, either out of a desire to protect their abuser or out of fear of retaliation. If there isn’t official documentation, you can still convince the courts of what has happened in your home.

Photos or video captured with a cellphone, testimony provided by co-workers, neighbors or family members, and even a diary where you record what happens in your home over a period of weeks or months, can be enough to convince the courts that the situation is serious and that your ex could pose a threat to your children.