Module VII: Custody and Visitation Implications
Key Points: Custody And Visitation Implications
- Children whose mothers are sexually abused are more psychologically harmed than children whose mothers are physically abused only.
- A history of sexual assaults against the mother is linked to increased risk of sexual and physical abuse of children.
- Courts have often been more punitive than helpful in securing safety for victims of domestic violence and their children.
- Among high-conflict custody cases, 75% have been found to involve domestic violence.
- Most jurisdictions now require courts to consider the presence of domestic violence in making custody and visitation determinations.
- Abusive fathers are more likely to seek custody than other fathers, and there is indication that more often than not, they are awarded custody.
- Children may conclude that their safety depends on maintaining close ties with the abusive parent.
- Joint custody is inappropriate in cases presenting a history of intimate partner sexual abuse or other domestic violence.
- Custody evaluators present their own biases and should not substitute for the court's own judgment.
- “Parental Alienation Syndrome” is a wholly discredited theory, completely lacking in scientific validity.
- Mediation, joint counseling and other cooperative approaches to dispute resolution are not appropriate in custody cases involving intimate partner sexual abuse and other types of domestic violence cases.
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