Amplify’d from americanmotherspoliticalparty.org
Child Custody and Visitation Decisions in Domestic Violence Cases: Legal Trends, Risk Factors, and Safety Concerns Daniel G. Saunders in consultation with Karen Oehme (Revised October 2007).
- Approximately half of all state laws make a presumption that it is harmful to the child and not in the best interest of the child to be placed in sole custody or joint physical or legal custody with the perpetrator of domestic violence. In the remaining states, domestic violence is merely one factor in a list of factors that must be considered in custody and visitation decisions.
- A recent trend is the use of “parenting coordinators” or “special masters,” a mental health or legal professional with mediation training who focuses on the children’s needs and helps the parents resolve disputes. They can make decisions within the bounds of the court order but it is important that they have training on domestic violence and realize when they need to act primarily as an enforcer of the court order.
- Half the men who batter their wives also abuse their children, a rate twice as high as that of battered women.
- Emotional abuse of children by men who batter almost always occurs because nearly all of these men exposed their children to domestic violence, and such exposure often has traumatic and lasting effects.
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- Mothers may be unjustly blamed for harming their children through “failure to protect,” since mothers are supposedly capable of protecting their children from the physical and emotional abuse of their partners.
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