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    I left the house the other night when my spouse was being abusive. My friend says that because I deserted the children, my spouse will automatically get custody of them if we go to court. Is that true?
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    No. If you leave an abusive spouse, you have the right to ask for custody of your children and for support for them and yourself. You do not lose this right because you are the one who left the house. A judge must look at the best interests of the children when deciding on who should have custody of them. Let the judge know that your spouse was being abusive. The judge must consider whether a person has been violent or abusive towards their spouse or children when deciding about custody and access. However, it is important for you to see a lawyer right away and to deal with custody questions quickly. If your children have been living with your spouse and without you for some time, a judge may not want to change their living situation.
    Even if you leave with the children, you should deal with the issue of custody as soon as possible.

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