Emotional abuse - does it have impact on custody?


My (soon to be) ex and I have an 8 yr old daughter together. I have 2 sons (14 & 17) who live at home from a previous marriage. All during my marriage (10 yrs), my husband emotionally abused the boys & me (but never would discipline or say anything negative to his daughter though). However she witnessed the abuse of her father towards us. He would say things to the boys like “you’re going to amount to nothing but a bum on the street”, “you piece of sh*t”, …he’d call them names like "stupid, dummy, *sshole, etc. He would pull down my youngest son’s pants and spank him repeatedly with a belt telling him to be still or he’d give him more (and my son fought to keep from getting hit), so he ended up with multiple straps marks across his bottom, legs, back, anywhere that he could hit because he wouldn’t be still. My daughter witnessed this and would cry and tell her daddy to stop. His oldest daughter (who’s 17 & lives w/ her mom) has witnessed the abuse as well, and she got to where she wouldn’t come over anymore because she told him he treated them bad and unfairly. I have an older son (21) that experienced this abuse as well .and he eventually moved out at age 17 when he couldn’t take it any longer. Also my 21 year old was offered to smoke pot with him when he was about 16 years old.

Would any of this (their testimonies) POSSIBLY have any affect on a judge’s decision as to who gets custody of our daughter? He’s already gotten into another relationship (she has young kids), and if he holds true to his character, he’ll treat them the same manner as he did mine…and our daughter will witness this. And rather than ever punishing our daughter, he will let her get by with ANYTHING – even hitting her dad with no punishment at all.

I dont’ think he would ever harm our daughter physically, but he does use manipulation tactics on her - especially about me since we’ve separated (trying to make me out to be the bad person). He is SKILLED at brainwashing & manipulation and is a COMPULSIVE LIAR!

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.

PS - Erin, you are awesome and doing a great service for the citizens of NC. We greatly appreciate it!!


It sounds like your husband has some stability issues that could greatly have affected your daughter while living in the home. Judges normally do not like to hear testimony from children of the parties (over 18 or not) and it may be better to ask that the court order a psychological evaluation of your husband and your daughter. Of course a judge will consider all relevant evidence in making a determination of custody.