Monday, November 29, 2010
Leslie Harris (Oregon) has posted "Failure to Protect from Exposure to Domestic Violence in Private Custody Contests" (44 Family Law Quarterly 169) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
All 50 states and the District of Columbia require courts to consider domestic violence committed by one parent against the other in resolving a custody or visitation dispute between the parents. A significant number of states also have statutes or case law that requires courts to consider the occurrence of violence in a child’s household or proposed household in resolving such disputes, regardless of who commits the violence or at whom it is directed. This kind of law may be used against a parent, often a victim, who fails to protect a child from being exposed to the violence. This article examines and critiques these laws in light of how this issue is handled in juvenile court child protective proceedings. In the child welfare context, widely-accepted reforms promote leaving children with their mothers who have been battered and offering services to these mothers to help them escape from the violence. The paper argues that the lessons and techniques from the child welfare system can and should be brought to bear in private custody disputes involving claims of exposure to domestic violence.