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Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Hannah, Mo Therese.
Goldstein, Barry.
Page Count: 

This text explores how fairly and justly family courts are handling child custody and visitation disputes involving domestic abuse. Part 1 discusses the parameters of the problems in family courts. Chapters address child custody practices of the family courts in cases involving domestic violence, recognizing domestic violence and providing appropriate representation, how earlier legal codes affect women and children in the modern legal system, historical origins of the fathers' rights movement, and gender biases in the courts. Chapters also detail findings from five studies on contested child custody in cases of domestic violence and discuss judicial failure in reconciling the effects of domestic violence in deciding contested child custody cases, and present findings from the Battered Mothers Custody Conference's Truth Commission. Part 2 shares the experiences of mothers whose own custody travails led them to help other mothers facing similar difficulties. The following section discusses causes of and contributors to court malpractice. Chapters address reframing child custody decision in the context of coercive control, Parental Alienation Syndrome, how abusive men manipulate the custody system and why judges make the decisions they do, denial and complicity in the family courts that compound batterer manipulation and retaliation, and reasons the mainstream media has failure to expose the custody court scandal. The final section includes chapters that offer solutions and strategies for addressing court malpractice, including: leveling the landscape by countering institutional auxiliaries to the family court system that can stand in the way of justice, organizing in defense of protective mothers, recognizing and overcoming the legal tactics of abusers, better preparing attorneys for domestic violence cases and trial examination, fighting false allegation of parental alienation, implementing quality control in child custody psychological evaluations, factoring the effects of children?s exposure to domestic violence in deciding placement, abolishing court-approved parenting evaluations and guardians ad litem, using American Law Institute Principles for accessing justice for battered mothers and their children, and covering the crisis in the custody courts in the media. Numerous references.

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