Their Relationship to Evaluator Demographics, Background, Domestic Violence Knowledge and Custody-Visitation Recommendations

Prinicipal investigator, Daniel Sanders, Univ. of Michigan
High rates of domestic violence exist in families referred for child custody evaluations. These evaluations can produce potentially harmful outcomes, including the custody of children being awarded to a violent parent, unsupervised or poorly supervised visitation between violent parents and their children, and mediation sessions that increase danger to domestic violence victims. Past research shows that domestic violence is frequently undetected in custody cases or ignored as a 
significant factor in custody-visitation determinations. Previous research also indicates that violence—and its harmful effects on victims and children—often continues or increases after separation. Little is known, however, about child custody evaluators’ beliefs, background, 
knowledge about domestic violence, and other factors that may shape their recommendations regarding custody and parent-child visitation arrangements. 
The purpose of this study was to further our understanding of what child custody evaluators and other professionals believe regarding allegations of domestic abuse made by parents going through a divorce.

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