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Divorce and Abusive Parents

Family courts have learned to pay closer attention to the injustices regarding domestic violence and have created multiple protections for victims of abusive parents.

The Leadership Counsel on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence states that in the U.S., nearly 60,000 children enter unsupervised custody or visitation with an abusive parent each year. Furthermore, 75 children were killed by abusive fathers between June 2009 and April 2011 while in their custody after divorce.

These sad realities are the results of a program that too frequently prioritizes the idea of equal parenting over the probability of child abuse. Although equitable parenting is usually a good goal to have, it may end up being detrimental to mothers fearful of their child suffering abuse from the child’s father. In trying to explain such abusive patterns to the court, mothers may be viewed as being “uncooperative,” especially when the mother cannot easily present evidence of the abuse.

Although the family courts occasionally neglect the foreseeability of child abuse by a parent in divorce, they do still provide for different protections against such abuse. For example, abused ex-spouses can request that the court issue protective orders and instate safety plans before mediation proceedings commence. These protections have led to the continuing improvement of the family court system’s efforts to protect children from abusive parents.

Going through the family court system is difficult for anyone, let alone for someone suffering from abuse. If you are contemplating divorce, and are concerned about how you can protect yourself and your child during and after the divorce, contact a family lawyer immediately.

For a free consultation, call us at (310) 598-1719.

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