Barry Goldstein: Research on Domestic Violence & Child Custody

Sometime back,I reached out to Barry Goldstein to look for ideas on how to handle the issues with my kids.  He and Theresa Mo’Hannah have published a book about domestic violence and child custody.  It’s a wealth of information and even though the price of it is somewhat out of reach for those of us in the trenches with dealing with this, there are helpful portions on their site:

I want to include here the exact words that Barry wrote back to me, as it has power in more and more people being aware of it.  I really wish I had posted this earlier, but unfortunately, it’s hard to stay centered and remember all the various pieces of relevant information.

Here is what he wrote to me:

“You have written at a good time because an important US Dept. of Justice study by Dr. Daniel Saunders has just been released and supports that fact that many of the positions and approaches used by the court professionals in your case are based on inadequate training and bias.  These practices have been shown to lead to decisions as in your case that are harmful to children.  Here is a link for the new study:
Here is a link to two articles I wrote about how to use the Saunders’ study in your case.
    Potentially you could make an application for a modification of visitation based on the harmful effects the visitation has had on your children and the new research which demonstrates it was a mistake to place the burden on you and the children to accommodate the abusive father instead of requiring him to change his behavior if he wants visitation.  The Saunders study found that domestic violence is a specialized area of knowledge and the usual and mandatory dv training given to judges, lawyers and evaluators does not provide them with the expertise they need.  Saunders specifically recommends particular training such as screening for dv, risk assessment and post-separation violence.  The practices used in your case demonstrate the professionals were missing this training.  In fact Saunders found that unqualified professionals tend to believe women frequently make false allegations, mothers’ attempts to limit contact with the father are harmful to the children and domestic violence is unimportant.  These unqualified professionals also tend to believe unscientific theories about alienation.  It appears the professionals in your case had all of these mistaken beliefs.  This led to decisions that place the children at risk.
    You would have good supporting research to modify the order, but the question is whether the court can hear information that challenges their normal practices.  It would require the judge to be open to new information and the integrity to correct mistakes.  You would need to present the information sensitively in a way the judge could hear and there is the danger the court could retaliate.”

One Response to “Barry Goldstein: Research on Domestic Violence & Child Custody”

  1. Amanda Thea Wolf says:

    For more insights from Barry on domestic violence, sexism and male privilege please read and join the dialogue at:

    And more from Barry on the Mother’s Movement and Abusers at:

    Sorry to hear of your struggles in family court. You have our best wishes, and that justice will prevail.

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