Fighting for Child Custody When Domestic Violence Is at Issue: Survey of State Laws

Amy Levin, Linda G. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents national data on each state's legislative approach to custody cases involving allegations of domestic violence. Battered women's advocates have successfully lobbied in some states for rebuttable presumption statutes that direct judges to deny sole or joint custody to abusive parents unless they present persuasive evidence establishing their suitability to obtain custody. Other states-at the behest of fathers' rights advocates-have adopted factor tests in which judges consider domestic violence as "one factor" in determining custody. Our findings suggest that each regulatory schema has strengths and weaknesses, but that these approaches have been developed without the benefit of intensive study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Battered women
  • Best interests of the child
  • Child custody
  • Domestic violence
  • Father's rights
  • Social work practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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