Where To Turn for Help During a Custody Battle

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Domestic issues can quickly turn violent, especially when children are involved.

Emotions are high, and children's futures are often at stake.

But before family differences escalate to violence, there are warning signs and resources that can help, before someone gets hurt.

"Divorce and custody issues are very complex and they do involve a lot of financial issues and when they do involve a child, that makes it even more complicated," says Carolyn Doty, CASA Executive Director.

A divorce is sometimes a person's first dealing with the judicial system.

It can be confusing and frustrating, and often those feelings manifest themselves in violence.

Court-appointed special advocates, or CASA, make sure the best interest of the child is met during these often difficult times.

"You know sometimes even in custody issues, people get so busy and so involved that they just don't take proper care of the child," Doty says.

Often times, a teacher or relative will be the first to notice something may be wrong in the home.

One of the first signs domestic violence is occurring is a child missing school or a parent missing work.

"And a lot of people just don't have the coping skills to navigate the legal system and deal with all the other issues they have going on with the family at the time," Doty explains.

One violent episode often precipitates the next, becoming more violent and more dangerous.

In July, Knox County opened one of the nation's first Family Justice Centers, where all the resources a victim of domestic violence could need are housed under one roof.

That number is 215-6845.

And as always, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected you can call your county's Department of Children's Services.


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