Domestic violence and co-parenting relationships post-divorce

In Texas, some marriages have been marked by domestic violence. When these types of marriages end, there may be problems with co-parenting when the former couples share children. Researchers have examined co-parenting in the year following the end of abusive marriages and found a difference that depended on the types of relationships.

Researchers from the University of Illinois examined the co-parenting relationships of women who had experienced domestic violence with their ex-spouses during the first year following their divorces. The researchers looked at the types of domestic violence relationships that the women and their ex-spouses had during their marriages in order to determine whether those prior relationships had an effect on the co-parenting relationships.

Some of the women had previously experienced coercive and controlling relationships with their former abusers. In these cases, the ex-spouses had controlled them in order to dominate them. The other women had experienced situationally violent relationships in which their arguments over such things as money or infidelity had escalated to the point that their spouses hit them. The researchers found that women whose relationships had been marked by coercion and control experienced much more difficult relationships with their ex-spouses following their divorces than did the ones who had experienced situational violence. The situationally violent couples were likelier to establish co-parenting relationships with emotional support for their children.

A history of domestic violence between spouses is one factor that judges consider when they are determining child custody and parenting time orders. The victims of domestic violence may want to get help from experienced family law attorneys who might advocate for their clients to receive the types of orders that might offer them the most protection. If the relationships were marked by coercion and control, the lawyers may ask for supervised visitation and exchanges in order to protect their clients and their children.

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