Child Custody

USING THE SAUNDERS’ REPORT- PART TWO

Using Saunders’ Report to Protect Children The Saunders’ study establishes that the custody courts are getting an intolerably high percentage of domestic violence custody cases wrong and this will continue as long as the courts rely on evaluators and other professionals who do not have the specific domestic violence training they need and refuse to use the expertise that could be provided by domestic

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USING THE SAUNDERS’ REPORT- PART ONE

Part I: The Game Changing Findings The United States Department of Justice provided a grant to support a major study by Dr. Daniel Saunders of the University of Michigan to determine how well court professionals and particularly evaluators are responding to domestic violence cases. The study comes in the context of frequent and substantial complaints that custody courts are using deeply flawed practices that

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Will the real hero please stand up!

The Quincy Model to the Quincy Solution By Barry Goldstein   Bill Delahunt served as a Congressman from Massachusetts for 14 years.  I can easily imagine some people who are frustrated with our political system and debate would think of him as just a typical politician.  But Bill Delahunt is a hero who saved many lives and the benefits of his work will increase exponentially

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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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