Child custody in a volatile divorce

It is not uncommon for divorcing couples to disagree when co-parenting arrangements are being decided. However, partner violence is becoming more and more common among separated couples. In California, violence in the first year after a break-up is most critical during child custody issues.

Studies show that significant factors about a divorce influences how well partners can parent after separation. Primary concerns are whether a woman was subjected to violence during the relationship, and if so, what type of violence. Experts agree the first year after a relationship ends is the most dangerous for women in abusive relationships. This is also the time when most custody decisions are made, and emotions are running high.

The most common forms of abuse are coercive controlling violence and situational couple violence. Research has determined those who experience coercive controlling violence often continued experiencing high levels of conflict, harassment and volatility from ex-spouses in the first year. These women received the least amount of cooperation and communication in co-parenting and child rearing. Women in situational violent marriage did not experience the same level of harassment and conflict and saw more consistent co-parenting support.

In reality, co-parenting involves two parents, and women want the harassment and the abuse to stop and the dads to be involved. The common goal is to minimize the risks to all parties involved and support a favorable outcome. In California, women who are in the middle of a child custody case may find it helpful to speak with a seasoned attorney for advice. An astute lawyer will assist the parent to ensure the best interests of the child are met.

Source:, “Co-Parenting After A Violent Marriage: What to Expect”, Rick Nauert, Dec 3, 2017

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