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Recognizing Domestic Violence: How to Know It When You See It and How to Provide Appropriate Representation  

Author:  Lois  Schwaeber, J.D..

Source: Volume 04, Number 01, Summer 2011 , pp.7-40(34)

Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly

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This article provides the fundamental information that legal actors need to know if they are to respond ethically and effectively to child custody/visitation cases involving domestic violence and/or child abuse allegations. With the well-earned wisdom and careful detail of a veteran legal professional, Lois Schwaeber begins the piece with a succinct discussion of the often-confusing details of these cases, including the counter-intuitive ways in which batterers and their victims present, the myths and misconceptions that often taint the interpretation of a case’s fact pattern, the legal missteps (e.g., issuing mutual orders of protection) commonly taken by court agents, the genuine harms batterers pose to children, and so forth. Ms. Schwaeber next shifts the focus from problems to solutions, fi nally rounding out the chapter with a set of cautions and advisories for the expert handling of these cases, so that the mission of our courts—ensuring the safety and protection of the most vulnerable among us—will be accomplished.

Keywords: evolution of U.S. law; cultural context; religious roots; mutual orders of protection; law guardians; custody evaluations

Affiliations:  1: Nassau County (NY) Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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