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Dealing with custody after leaving an abusive marriage

In many California divorce cases, domestic violence is a driving factor. Even so, many former spouses who have a history of intimate partner violence may still have to work together if they have children. How well the former spouses are able to co-parent together depends on the type of violence that was experienced during the marriage.

For many former spouses, particularly women, the first year of co-parenting following a divorce involving intimate partner violence can be the most difficult. Part of the reason for this is that the former spouses may still be negotiating on custody decisions, meaning this is the time when they may have the most contact with each other. According to a study, the type of violence the victimized spouse experienced influenced what was experienced during the first year of the divorce.

For example, those who experienced situational couple violence continued to experience conflict and harassment. However, those who experienced coercive controlling violence, which often involves tactics that include manipulation and isolation, experienced a higher level of harassment and conflict. Further, those who experienced situational couple violence were able to better work together to reach custody agreements than those who experienced isolation and manipulation during their marriage.

When a spouse experiences domestic violence in his or her relationship, he or she may find that the situation can become dangerous, especially if there are children involved. However, leaving a relationship in which domestic violence occurs can be difficult, especially if the other spouse turns to stalking, harassment or other dangerous actions. An attorney may assist with seeking a restraining order to prevent the other spouse from having contact.


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