ABA Child Law Practice
Written for lawyers, judges, and child welfare professionals, this article considers the parental role of men who batter their spouses and partners. Parenting styles of batterers, their impact on the relationship between the mother and child, and the risk for children living in a violent home are discussed. Post-separation issues and litigation tactics used by batterers in child custody cases and other legal processes are identified, including threats made to the mother, failure to pay child support, manipulation of children, and income advantage. The article also profiles programs that work with violent men to improve their parenting skills, such as the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the Resource Center for Fathers and Families, and the Center for Fathers, Families, and Workforce Development. Studies have found that in order to become more effective parents, batterers must acknowledge and take responsibility for their abusive patterns, adopt more civil behaviors, and be motivated to maintain positive changes. Attorneys managing cases involving domestic violence are advised to protect themselves from being manipulated by the batterer. In addition, they should encourage judges, social workers, and expert witnesses to consider the parenting abilities of the batterer and refer abusers to appropriate treatment programs. 20 notes.
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