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Is co-parenting possible after abusive marriages?

Some marriages in North Carolina are violent. After parents leave violent marriages, they may be concerned about co-parenting their children with their ex-spouses. Researchers recently looked at co-parenting during the first year following the divorces of those whose marriages had been violent.

The researchers were from the University of Illinois and were interested to find out whether the type of abuse that occurred during the marriage would have an impact on the couple's ability to co-parent their children following their divorces. They wanted to know if mothers who had been the victims of abuse during their marriages would be able to establish co-parenting relationships with their ex-spouses or if they would continue to be their victims.

The women who the researchers looked at in the study had either experienced abuse in marriages that were characterized by intimidation and control or those in which the violence was situational. Women who had been in marriages that were controlling were likelier to be harassed and intimidated in the year following their divorces. Those who had experienced situational violence during their marriages were likelier to be able to form co-parenting relationships with their former spouses.

In child custody cases, the best interests of the child are the most important consideration. One of the factors that judges look at when making child custody and visitation orders is whether or not there has been a history of violence in the parents' relationships. The victims of domestic violence might want to talk to their family law attorneys about what they have experienced. The lawyers may try to gather evidence of the abuse in an effort to secure orders for sole custody, supervised visits or supervised exchanges. Courts may make orders that help to keep both the victims of abuse and their children safe after the violent marriages have ended.

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