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Published by Legal Momentum

Legal Momentum: Domestic Violence and Child Custody Legal Resource Kit

To view full guidebook, click here  (pdf)

CONTENTS

  • The ABCs of Child Custody When Domestic Violence is An Issue
  • Tips for Women Involved in Child Custody Matters When Domestic Violence is an Issue
  • A Guide to Parental Alienation Syndrome
  • State Custody Laws That Consider Domestic Violence
  • Interstate Custody: Understanding the UCCJA, UCCJEA and the PKPA
  • The Impact of Domestic Violence On Children
  • Select Bibliography On Domestic Violence and Child Custody
  • Organizations and Resources List
  • Notes

To view full guidebook, click here  (pdf)

INTRODUCTION

In no other area of family law are battered women and their children inadvertently subjected to greater physical and emotional harm than in the child custody and visitation context. Battered women are often forced to participate in custody arrangements that require mediation, unsupervised custody and visitation, and other types of exchanges that leave them and their children vulnerable to continued abuse and control at the hands of their batterers. Women who try to protect themselves and their children by seeking sole custody or modifications in custody arrangements such as cessation of visitation, supervised visits, or who flee with their children are penalized by having custody taken away and given to their batterers. Despite the perception that mothers always win custody, when fathers contest custody, they win sole or joint custody in 40% to 70% of the cases. Indeed, even in cases where abuse is reported, a batterer is twice as likely to win custody over a non-abusive parent than in cases where no abuse is reported.

Domestic violence may arise as an issue in court cases addressing a range of issues. For example:

  • An abused woman seeks child support or an order of protection during a divorce
  • An abused women seeks a restraining order because of harassment at her job, her child’s school, her home, or the home of a relative
  • An abuser seeks changes in custody or visitation
  • An abused person seeks supervised or limited visitation of the abuser
  • The court seeks to terminate the parental rights of the abused, the abuser, or both due to alleged physical
    abuse of the children
  • The court seeks to terminate the parental rights of the abused, the abuser, or both due to alleged failure to protect the children from abuse
  • An abused person seeks money damages for physical and mental injury from abuse

To view full guidebook, click here  (pdf)

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