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Custody Resources

DV LEAP has partnered with the Dept. of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women on a 2-year cooperative agreement to improve the family court system’s ability to protect children in custody cases involving domestic violence or child abuse. The agreement has concluded but great accomplishments and resources were achieved.

In partnership with the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, we provided education on critical issues that often determine case outcomes, such as the misuse of flawed parental alienation theories and failure to consider evidence of abuse. One particularly powerful aspect of the Project’s work was the development of a unique database of cases that have “Turned Around.”  These are cases in which the initial custody order placed a child (or children) in dangerous contact with an abusive parent and a subsequent order protected the child. Analysis of these cases provided valuable understanding of how and why custody evaluations so frequently fail to identify or predict actual risk to children who are victims of family violence.  

As as result of this Cooperative Agreement, DV LEAP and the Leadership Council produced a number of written tools and resource materials to assist professionals working in the family court system.  Links to each of the documents are provided below.

I. Resources on the misuse of Parental Alienation Syndrome/Parental Alienation

1. Critical Bibliography of articles on Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation

2. Summary of Case Law Addressing Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation

3. Fact Sheet on PAS Admissibility

4. Scientific and Professional Rejections of Parental Alienation Syndrome

II. Resources for attorneys and advocates representing protective parents

1. Guidelines on Best Practices for Litigating Custody and Abuse Cases in Order to Preserve Appeals to State Court and the Supreme Court

2. Preparing DV Survivors for a Custody Evaluation

3. Making the Record for Appeal

4. Pro Se Guidelines on How to Make the Record for Appeal (any jurisdiction)

5. Pro Se Guidelines on How to Make the Record for Appeal (WV annotations)

6. Tip Sheet for Litigants and Their Advocates for Custody Evaluations

III. Research Summaries

1. Research Indicating That the Majority of “High Conflict” Contested Custody Cases Have a History of Domestic Violence

2. Rates at Which Accused and Adjudicated Batterers Receive Sole or Joint Custody

3. Scientific and Professional Rejections of Parental Alienation Syndrome

4. False Allegations of Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse

IV. Other Resource Materials

Critiques and Case Reports of GALs’ Failures to Protect Children in Custody and Abuse Cases

Custody Publications

DV LEAP publishes articles and research summaries for use by those seeking to advance the protection of child and adult victims of abuse.  Following are some of these publications: