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Leaving My Abusive Husband, Child Custody Worries Me

02 February, 2022
Q Thank you for answering my first question.

Now I'm choosing divorce and will not continue my life in this toxic relationship. But I am worried about my child.

Will my abusive husband be able to take full custody of my child?

Will I never see my child again?

Answer


In this counseling answer:

It is unusual for custody to be taken away from a parent, rather people usually have shared custody.

I strongly encourage you to contact a lawyer in your local area to help you understand all of this, ultimately you will need a lawyer anyways.

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Engaging in therapy is not just about helping you heal; it is also about helping you maintain a healthy perspective during the court proceedings. 

 I encourage you to keep making frequent duaa, ask Al-Qawi (The Supremely Strong, The Inexhaustible Strength) to give you strength and endurance to make it through this hardship.


Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for considering the previous words of advice and continuing to reach out for help. My dear Sister, this shows you are growing in courage! Alhamdulillah. May Allah (most honored and revered) give you more strength and guide your steps, ameen. 

It is my understanding you are worried about custody regarding your son and believe your husband will do his best to keep him.

I also understand this is a difficult thing to imagine as this man is abusive and could cause harm to your son, as well as teach him a toxic example of behavior. Please know this is a concern many Mothers and Fathers in your situation feel. 

Leaving My Abusive Husband, Child Custody Worries Me - About Islam

Custody

Let us address your legal questions. I cannot give you legal advice as I am not a lawyer, but here are some basic concepts to keep in mind. To begin, please be aware it is unusual for custody to be taken away from a parent, rather people usually have shared custody.

Meaning both parents are in the life of the child, but one parent is the primary custodian. For example, if you had primary custody, he lives with you but visits his Father on agreed-upon dates and holidays are shared.

If abuse and maltreatment of the child are a factor, then the courts may limit that to supervised visitation or alter visitation in some way to protect the child. If he is not abusive to your son and your son wants to see him, the courts will not keep him from his Father, and you will both be required to work together amicably.

I strongly encourage you to contact a lawyer in your local area to help you understand all of this, ultimately you will need a lawyer anyways.


Check out this counseling video:


Maintenance

In general, custody court systems look at the whole situation and try to determine the safety of the child, socio-economic stability for the child, and the overall welfare of the minor in question.  They will want to determine first and foremost which home is safer.

I strongly encourage you to arm your lawyer with all of the information about his abusive behavior, especially all that involves your son, so that he may present to the court the character of your husband. This includes verbal and emotional abuse.  This will weigh heavy on the court’s decision. 

I would expect them to look at housing situations and relatable income. I don’t want you to worry that making less money than him will disqualify you, I was able to find this legal article online which is about the custody system around your country.

It states that having a lower income is not a disqualifier for primary custody and in such situations, your husband may be ordered to provide you financial maintenance for your son.

From an Islamic perspective, he is supposed to pay you maintenance during the period of your iddah (3 months following the divorce). A lawyer can help you navigate child support payments from him. 

Typically, court systems will also listen to the preferences of the child once they reach an age where they can rationally provide a preference they want. This can vary but in general, around age 9-11 court systems allow this. 

Counseling

Sister, as highlighted in the initial response, I encourage you to consider counseling services. A divorce is considered one of the most stressful events a person experiences.

Your potential divorce is not just about a family separating, it is about healing from trauma and adultery. Both of these leave emotional scars that need to be examined and worked on. 

If your husband does try to be aggressive with his legal style and court proceeding this has the potential to trigger negative reactions in you.

Engaging in therapy is not just about helping you heal; it is also about helping you maintain a healthy perspective during the court proceedings. 

You can do this online or in-person, depending on your personal preferences. 

Courage

Sister, I know this is a very difficult move to make that induces fear , but I have no doubts you can handle this inshallah and you can come out of this situation stronger than you ever were.

I encourage you to keep making frequent duaa, ask Al-Qawi (The Supremely Strong, The Inexhaustible Strength) to give you strength and endurance to make it through this hardship. Pray istikhara and let your answers embolden you. 

“And rely upon Allah ; and sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.”

[Quran 33:3]

I encourage you to visualize your life without pain and abuse. Close your eyes, sit comfortably, and visualize your better life in mind.

Imagine what it will be like to live in peace and without the fear of being hurt. Imagine how happy your child will be in such a home. Enjoy this imagery in your mind and use it as fuel. That is your goal and it is very achievable. 

Final Thoughts

Here is a summary of your next steps forward Sister. 

  • Seek out legal counsel to help you navigate the legal process
  • Ensure you give your lawyer all necessary information 
  • Consider regular counseling to help you heal during this process
  • Visualize your future and happier life. Use that imagery to fuel you moving forward
  • Make frequent duaa for strength and pray istikhara 

Inshallah you can do this Sister and remember you are never alone, Allah (swt) is always near and you can always reach out for strength. May Allah (swt) make this process safe and guide your choices, ameen. 

salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/finding-peace/trusting-allah/keeping-faith-strong-hard-times/

https://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/living-islam/5-ways-practicing-islam-makes-mentally-stronger/

https://aboutislam.net/family-life/husbands-wives/overcoming-emotional-hardships-divorce/

About Monique Hassan
Monique Hassan graduated with honors in 2012 with her BSc in Psychology and a minor in Biology and is certified in Crisis Prevention and Intervention. She has years of professional as well as personal experience with trauma, relationship struggles, substance abuse, identifying coping skills, conflict resolution, community outreach, and overall mental health concerns. She is a professional writer specialized in Islamic Psychology and Behavioral Health. She is also a revert who took her shahada in 2015, Alhamdulillah. You can contact Sister Monique Hassan via her website "MoniqueHassan.com"