Domestic Violence in Child Custody Cases

Domestic Violence

A child’s exposure to domestic violence has only recently come up for consideration in child custody cases, as, in the past, it was assumed that a child’s formative years were best spent with the mother.

The Family Violence Project, 1995, initiated viewing domestic violence records as an important consideration in custody awards. However, the legislation accepted by a number of states allowed plenty of court discretion, listing violence as only one factor in the domestic well-being of the child.

Here are some important red-flag court statutes that misunderstand the nature of domestic violence and its potential to harm both spouses and children.

Friendly parent statutes
“Friendly parent” statutes give each parent equal status without necessarily considering domestic abuse. Qualifications like this may put unfair pressure on the abused spouse to cooperate and co-parent with someone who has done harm to the family. If the abused parent proves reluctant, he/she is in danger of being considered ‘uncooperative’ by the court.

Joint custody
Joint custody became a consideration when studies of highly-motivated divorcing couples were evaluated. Couples in high conflict with the addition of domestic violence were not part of this assessment. It is now recognized that highly-conflicted parents have poor potential for successful co-parenting. Children of conflicted domestic life are found to be more profoundly affected by conditions at home preceding the divorce than by the divorce itself. As such, frequent interaction between divorced, conflicted parents leads to an acceleration of both verbal and physical abuse.

A Chicago divorce lawyer is well-aware of the potentially harmful considerations of friendly parent statutes and joint custody when domestic abuse has been a factor. Contacting a Chicago divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Michael P. Doman is the first step towards addressing divorce and child custody and its ramifications for the future of the family. We are available for a consultation today!

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