If my girlfriend is abusive to me but not to my daughter, how do I attempt to go about attaining custody?

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If my girlfriend is abusive to me but not to my daughter, how do I attempt to go about attaining custody?

She will physically detain me if I try to avoid confrontation. If I do not respond she will pull, tug, push, and hit me to get a response. If I lock myself in a room she will attempt to beat the door down. What steps do I need to take to ensure my daughter’s safety?

Asked on January 23, 2013 under Family Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Even though she is not physically abusive to your daughter, it is emotional abuse to have this type of hysterics in front of the child or in the same household.  If you have a way to document her hysterics, that would be a great starting point so that it's not a he-said/she-said situation later.  Examples of documentation can include statements from neighbors that have seen her lose it, making a recording of her beating on the other side of the door, or saving phone or text messages of her acting crazy.

You don't have to have this info up front, but it really helps once you start to file for custody. To start the process, you would file a custody suit with a petition in which you as for custody of your daughter.  Considering how she has been to this point, you may also want to seek temporary orders which grant your primary custody while the suit is pending.  The same temporary order can include language that restrains her from using profane or threatening language or actions directed toward you or your daughter.

After filing the petition, you would then request a hearing.  At the hearing, your argument would essentially be that you are concerned about the emotional and physical health of your daughter should you not be there to "take the brunt of her anger."  Her natural counter-argument will be that the violence has been directed towards you-- but note the court that it has continued in the house with the child, which is not acceptable parenting.  You should also ask the court to designate a neutral location for exchanges to take place at-- you do not want this crazy lady coming to your home more than is necessary. 


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