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Type of abuse experienced during marriage may impact custody

It is an unfortunate fact that some couples in Tennessee experience violence during their marriages. When couples divorce, they may still have to work with each other if they share children.

Researchers at the University of Illinois wanted to learn whether or not the type of abuse that was experienced during a marriage would have an impact on the ability of the couples to establish supportive co-parenting relationships after their divorces. The researchers were particularly interested in the year that immediately followed the divorces since the first year after a person leaves an abusive relationship is the most dangerous time.

The researchers divided women who had been in abusive marriages and who had gotten divorced into two groups that were based on the type of violence that they had experienced during their marriages, including situational violence and controlling, coercive relationships. They then examined whether or not the women continued to experience intimidation and harassment or if they were able to form co-parenting relationships with their former spouses. They found that the women who had been in relationships with situational violence were likelier to be able to form supportive co-parenting relationships with their former spouses than were the women who had been in controlling relationships.

Domestic violence is an issue that is pervasive, and it is also a factor that is considered by the family law courts when they are making child custody and visitation decisions. People who want to leave their abusive spouses might want to get help from an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer may present evidence of the abuse for the court to consider and might argue for the visitation rights of the abusive spouse to be limited. The courts may make orders for visits or exchanges to be supervised in order to protect the children and the victims.

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