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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 199909 Find in a Library
Title: Child Custody Evaluations and Domestic Violence: Case Comparisons
Journal: Violence and Victims  Volume:17  Issue:6  Dated:December 2002  Pages:719-742
Author(s): T. K. Logan; Robert Walker; Carol E. Jordan; Leah S. Horvath
Date Published: December 2002
Page Count: 24
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses characteristics of disputed custody cases and examines custody evaluation reports for differences between domestic violence and non-domestic violence cases.
Abstract: The purpose of this study were to examine court records for differences in cases classified as involving domestic violence and those not involving domestic violence; examine custody evaluation reports process and content for differences in domestic violence and non-domestic violence classified cases; and examine custody evaluation report recommendations and final case resolution for differences in cases classified with and without domestic violence. The study consisted of a content analysis in one jurisdiction in Kentucky. Each record was analyzed using a standard protocol created by the researchers and based on initial analysis of test cases. Results show that although there were some differences in the information contained in court records between the two groups, there were very minor differences in custody evaluations. With regard to court record differences, those cases classified into the domestic violence group were significantly more likely to mention child abuse and substance use in the court record than those cases not classified into the domestic violence group. Domestic violence cases were more likely to involve younger children and to have had marital debts than the non-domestic violence group cases. Although there were few significant differences with regard to post-decree activity for the two groups, the domestic violence cases were significantly more likely to have returned to court for child support issues than the non-domestic violence cases. Divorce or custody dispute cases that included custody evaluation appeared much more contentious than cases without custody evaluations. The findings suggest that evaluators do not appear to investigate the nature or extent of domestic violence, and do not explore domestic violence as a way of attending to the child’s safety interests. 3 figures, 5 tables, 79 references
Main Term(s): Child custody; Domestic assault
Index Term(s): Abusing spouses; Child welfare; Divorce mediation; Domestic relations; Family courts; Parental rights; Rights of minors
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