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Warning Signs That a Child Custody Fight Could Turn Violent

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Jan 09, 2014 | 0 Comments


A horrific incident in New York where a man jumped to his death from a New York City building with his toddler son raises concerns about how easy it is for some parents to snap in the face of enormous stress surrounding a contentious custody battle.

The incident took place recently in Manhattan, when eyewitnesses say they say the pair fall out of a 14th floor window. Both father and son died at the scene from their injuries. Police officials have since revealed that the murder/suicide was likely related to an ongoing custody battle between the man and his wife. Officials say the situation had gotten so bad that the two had to exchange custody at a nearby police station to avoid nasty encounters. The husband had previously threatened his wife, saying that he would take their son away if he did not get everything he wanted out of the divorce.

Given the horrific episode, a family counselor form Purdue University, Dr. Judith Myers-Walls, offered the following examples of warning signs that might indicate a custody battle could turn violent:

  • When a parent appears to be under unusually high levels of stress, especially related to custody or visitation issues.
  • If a parent appears to have a hard time feeling attachment or connection to a child, it could also be a possible indication of future trouble.
  • Parents that rely exclusively on physical punishment to discipline children are another source of such worry as are those who were abused as children.

The best advice in a tense child custody fight is to rely on experts to protect your interests. Hire a skilled South Carolina family law attorney to conduct the custody negotiations with your spouse's lawyer. Utilizing the services of an experienced Guardian ad Litem is always helpful, because her role is to protect the interests of the child – not those of the parties.

Despite the expert advice, the tragic reality is that in some cases the stress and pain that goes along with some custody fights can just be too much for some parents to handle. No matter how hard you try, there are simply some things that are unpredictable and cannot be controlled.

Source: “The Most Important Warning Signs a Custody Battle Could Turn Violent,” by Lisa Fogarty, published at

About the Author

J. Benjamin Stevens

Senior Partner


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