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Can ongoing custody battles cause 'long-term damage' to child?

Many parents across Tennessee would do everything in their power to protect their relationship with their kids. However, this "willing to do anything" attitude can actually poses a threat to a child's well-being if it makes it impossible for two parents to see eye-to-eye on anything.

For instance, recently a custody case involving Nicole Curtis, the star of a home remodeling show on HGTV, wound up back in court, much to the disappointment of the judge. According to news reports, the judge warned Curtis and the father of her 15-month-old child that their ongoing violations and legal disputes could cause "long-term psychological damage" to their son.

This is quite a serious statement and whether you agree with it or not, it does reflect the powerful perspective that kids can be influenced by family legal battles.

To begin with, kids are affected by their environment. When that environment involves angry parents and unstable visitation schedules and expectations, a child can certainly pick up on the stress and anxiety that can all cause.

As children get older, they can also find themselves being put in between two battling parents, which puts an incredible amount of pressure on a child. Whether they are being asked about their opinions in a courtroom or feeling guilty for wanting to spend time with the other parent, kids who are pit between two feuding parents can be shouldering an incredible burden.

Further, kids benefit from stable, supportive environments. When parents are distracted by court appearances and battles with an ex, they may not be providing the consistent love and attention they are capable of providing.

With all this in mind, it makes sense that ongoing custody disputes could ultimately do more harm than good to a child's well-being. However, it can also take an incredible toll on the parents involved, who often believe they are doing the right thing.

If you want to avoid this ugly cycle, it can be helpful to take a step back and really consider what your children may be going through and how you can help them. It can also be crucial that you work with an attorney from the beginning to develop and enforce fair parenting plans. 

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