Family Courts codes allow for a change in child custody if it can be shown that a parent has engaged in family violence, including intimate partner violence (IPV). When allegations are credible and supported by the evidence, change in custody may be in the best interests of the child. Too often, however, some parents fabricate or exaggerate claims of abuse in order to gain a custody advantage, an example of Legal and Administrative Aggression (LA), which is in itself a form of psychological abuse and coercive control.
Unfortunately, family court professionals often make poor decisions, due to an inadequate understanding of the issues. This presentation provides an overview of the current research on family violence as it pertains to child custody cases, and recommendations for family court personnel on how to make custody decisions that are indeed in the “best interests of the child.”
The presenter, John Hamel, has nearly 30 years of clinical experience working with intimate partner violence perpetrators, victims, and their families, a large percentage of them referred from the Family Court system. He has conducted research on the topic of IPV and child custody since 2000, and is frequently asked to provide expert witness testimony involving IPV allegations.