212-245-6125
Lisa Wolovick
PREFACE
In 1980, while working as a hospital social worker, a severely injured battered woman was admitted to my service. X-rays revealed that she had old fractures that were poorly healed. This time her husband had beaten her with a chain when she spoke to a neighbor in the hallway of their apartment building.

My client was a soft-spoken mother of two children who was anxious to make sure that her children were safe. After an incident in which her husband attempted to visit her at the hospital we began safety planning to find a place where she could stay with her children. While my client had family, staying with them was not a viable option, as her husband knew where they lived. The police had been called to her home on numerous occasions but until the night when she was brought to the hospital emergency room he had never been arrested. It was apparent that the batterer’s abuse had escalated to lethal levels and her doctors did not believe that she could survive another beating; her ribs had been broken, puncturing her lung... (read more)

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 Identifying the Problem: Traumatic Divorce and Separation
The Study of Divorce
The Study of Trauma and Abuse
The Impact of Traumatic Exposure
The Court's Response to Domestic Violence
Gender Bias in the Courts
Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Divorce and Custody

2 The Impact of Divorce on Adults, Children, and Adolescents
Divorcing Families and the Courts
Adults and Divorce
Children and Divorce
Parenting and Divorce
Divorce and Separation as Transitions
Co-Parenting and Children's Adjustment
Visitation with Infants and Pre-School Children
Adolescence and Divorce
The Concept of High-Conflict Divorce
Allegations of Abuse During Divorce or Separation
Domestic Violence, Trauma and Divorce or Separation
Conclusion

3 The Struggle to Define Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence: The Definition of the Problem
Domestic Violence as Coercive Control
Are There Classifications or Typologies of Domestic Violence?
Measuring the Prevalence of Domestic Violence
Analysis of the Gender Symmetry Theory
Conclusion

4 The Effects of Trauma on Children
Children's Exposure to Trauma
The Public Health Impact of Childhood Exposure to Trauma
Trauma in Infants and Preschool Children
Traumatic Exposure to Domestic Violence in Children
The Prevalence of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Identification of Sexual Abuse
Substance Abuse and Attachment
Fatherhood, Children and the Impact of Abuse
Parental Alienation
The Rate of False Allegations
Allegations of Mothers as Gate-Keepers
Resilience in Children
Conclusion

5 Gender Bias in the Family Courts
The Family Courts' History
Gender Bias and Domestic Violence
The Gender Bias Task Force Movement
Gender Bias in the Federal Courts
Gender Bias, Custody and Visitation
Human Rights Research on Battered Women
International Law Protections
Custody and the Fathers' Rights Movement
Conclusion

6 Intimate Partner Abuse, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse
Mental Health Questions Regarding Batterers
Common Personality Traits in Batterers
Battering and Parenting
Is There a Diagnosis?
Assessing Dangerousness
Maternal Mental Health Concerns
Mental Health and Domestic Violence
Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence
Severity of Aggression and Alcohol Abuse
The Impact of Parental Substance Abuse on Children
Mothering, Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse and Mental Health

7 Economic and Legal Abuse
Identification of Economic Abuse
Employment and Domestic Violence
Bankruptcy, Debt, and Domestic Violence
Legal Abuse
Divorce, Separation, and Economic Abuse
Child Support Enforcement
The Distribution of Marital Property
The Impact of No-Fault Divorce
Alimony, Spousal Support and Maintenance
Counsel Fees
Federal Civil Remedies
Conclusion

8 An Integrated Mental Health Response in Custody Litigation
The Development of Custody Jurisprudence
Domestic Violence and Child Custody Determinations
Competing Legal Presumptions and Custody Decisions
Attorneys for the Children
Custody Determinations and Trauma
The Primary Caretaker and Custody
Current Trends in Child Custody
Joint Legal Custody Presumptions
Custody and Domestic Violence
Conclusion

9 The Response to Families Engaged in Traumatic Divorce:
Judicial Trends and Reforms
The Problem-Solving Model Court Response
Problem-Solving Substance Abuse and Mental Health Courts
Recidivism and Effectiveness
Domestic Violence Courts
Mediation
Parenting Coordination
Collaborative Law
Supervised Visitation Programs
Supervised Visitation in Domestic Violence Cases
Supervised Visitation with Traumatized Children
Post-Separation Risks of Abuse
Conclusion

10 Expert Testimony and Custody Evaluations
The Court's Use of Expert Testimony
Guidelines for Psychologists in Custody Evaluations
Guidelines for Psychiatry
Social Work Guidelines
Recent Guidelines for Custody Evaluators
Domestic Violence and Custody Evaluators
Judicial Guidelines for Custody and Domestic Violence
Evaluating Domestic Violence
Are Custody Evaluations Accurate?
The Role of Attachment
Interviewing Children
Psychological Testing and Custody Evaluations
Legal Standards of Admissibility
Conclusion

11 Recommendations and Conclusions: Building an Integrated Response
Systemic Change in the Family Courts
The Model Court Movement
Battered Women's Experiences in Court
Judicial Reforms
Interdisciplinary Collaboration and the Provision of Services in the Family Courts
Assessment of Batterers' Intervention Programs
The Study of Victimology
The Medical Profession and Domestic Violence
Graduate Education
Legal Education
Vicarious Trauma
Conclusion
Lisa Fischel-Wolovick, Esq.
5911 Riverdale Ave., Riverdale, New York 10471
© 2019 All Rights Reserved.
email: LFW@wolovicklaw.com
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