Child Custody

State law promotes abuse. Which state is it?

Kentucky’s lax laws By Barry Goldstein   Context is critical in understanding domestic violence issues.  Abusers routinely seek to decontextualize their behavior in order to conceal their purpose and impact.  Courts tend to look at each issue and each incident separately and in doing so fail to recognize the patterns and so deny or minimize true domestic violence complaints. Mother Jones recently published a good article

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UNDERSTANDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DYNAMICS: A PREREQUISITE FOR COURT PROFESSIONALS TO WORK ON DV CUSTODY CASES

by Barry Goldstein   The frequency with which judges, lawyers, evaluators, child protective caseworkers and other professionals fail to recognize true complaints of domestic violence made by mothers in child custody cases has led to extensive discussions among domestic violence experts about the need for training. In many of these cases the professionals denied valid complaints despite receiving domestic violence training. Too often they

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Changing Abusers’ Behavior: What Works What Doesn’t

By Barry Goldstein   Introduction A few years ago I attended a national conference for and about batterer programs. One of my colleagues aptly referred to it as a marketing conference for the batterer program industry. I am sure there were many people at the conference that sincerely sought to reduce domestic violence and believed their programs could help accomplish this. Nevertheless I was

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES REQUIRE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPERTS: DUH!

By Barry Goldstein I can understand why the court system did not immediately seek to learn from and rely on domestic violence experts when domestic violence first became a public issue in the mid to late 1970s. There was no research available and few domestic violence advocates. A popular assumption and misconception was that domestic violence was caused by mental illness, substance abuse and

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What Does Safe Feel Like?

The Real Meaning of Stopping Domestic Violence: Helping Potential Victims Feel Safe By Barry Goldstein   Dara Carlin is one of the best domestic violence advocates and told Elizabeth Liu and me a story when we were working on our book to train attorneys. Dara has a friend who is literally seven feet tall and could be scary to those who don’t know him.

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The Intersection of Rape, Custody and Reproductive Coercion

By Barry Goldstein Thirty-one states permit rapists to use family courts to gain access to their victim and obtain custody or visitation of a child conceived from rape. The situation is outrageous, but it doesn’t even describe the full failure of states to protect rape victims and their children. Even in states that provide some protections, a conviction is necessary to shield survivors from

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Shared Custody Issues in the Context of Domestic Violence

by Barry Goldstein            In a Queens New York custody case, the court appointed a prominent psychologist to evaluate a young couple.  The psychologist was frequently used as an expert in the New York courts despite a fathers’ rights bias that included a quotation in a New York Times article supporting shared parenting.  Throughout his testimony supporting the abusive father,

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NOMAS Says Use Sandusky Conviction to Protect All Children

The National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) is relieved that Jerry Sandusky and the children who survived his repeated assaults have received a measure of justice. Sandusky will never harm a child again, but his prior acts will continue to cause unspeakable pain and damage as long as these children are remembered by friends and family. There is no reason to celebrate the

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What is Fair for Children of Abusive Men?

A presentation by Jack Straton at What About the Kids? Custody and Visitation Decisions in Families with a History of Violence, a National Training Project of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Project on Thursday, October 8, 1992, Duluth, Minnesota Introduction I will first critically examine the criterion at the base of all custody laws today, “What is in the best interests of the children?” I

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