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Domestic Abuse, Child Custody, and Visitation


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Table of Contents

Preface Introduction 1. A Great Judicial Fallacy 2. Defining The Problem - Representing a Battered Woman in Divorce 3. Memory 4. Language is Important to Victims 5. Understanding The Impact of Violence on Children 6. The Attorney-Client Interview: Its importance and implications 7. Pleading The Case 8. The Litigation Continued 9. Using and Choosing Experts 10. Developing Strategies 11. Family Courts Must Demand Science 12. The "Best Interest" Standard vs. Standard to Assure Child Safety 13. The Intersection of Forensic Opinion and Therapist Testimony 14. Custody Evaluations, Therapy Child Protection and Ethics 15. Mental Health Professionals Take Risks When Evaluating Children 16. Domestic Abuse and Child Protection: Is What We Are Doing Working? 17. Conclusion: An Open Letter to a Young Lawyer: A Critical Look at the Child Custody System and What Every Mental Health Person Should know about Lawyers 18. Kids Grow Up References and Suggested Readings Index

About the Author

Toby Kleinman, JD, is a New Jersey attorney and a partner in the law firm of Adler & Kleinman. She has litigated domestic violence, child custody and abuse cases and has been a consultant in legal cases dealing with domestic violence and child abuse in over 45 states. Daniel Pollack, JD, MSW, is Professor in the School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. He has been an expert witness in more than 25 states. Case subject matter includes child abuse and neglect, and abuse and wrongful death of children in foster care, residential care, and day care.


"In this courageous expose of the family court legal arena, Toby Kleinman and Daniel Pollack combine their decades of study and practice to craft a powerful book, one that provides cutting-edge, authoritative guidance to lawyers representing battered women in child custody litigation involving an abusive ex-partner. Equally important as its sage legal advice is its profound validation of the harrowing experiences facing battered women forced to navigate a hostile legal landscape as they try to protect themselves and their children. The book is a must-read for legal and other professionals involved in these cases, and it ought to be given as a gift to every woman facing child custody litigation." --Mo Therese Hannah, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Siena College; Licensed Psychologist "Toby Kleinman and Daniel Pollack have provided THE roadmap in litigating childcustody cases where domestic violence is present! Their book - particularly their explanation of the 'Great Judicial Fallacy' - should be required reading for all who are engaged in the judicial process involving these cases: lawyers, mental-health professionals, custody evaluators, and especially judges. If you are one of those professionals, then do yourself - and the children you are charged to help protect - a favor and read this book!" --Paul Griffin, JD, Legal Director, Child Justice, Inc. "Toby Kleinman and Daniel Pollack have given us the missing piece of the puzzle for child custody cases in the U.S. Courts. Calling out the lack of protection for children, especially for those subjected to homes where domestic violence reigns, they provide desperately needed strategies to protect them. No one, not a professional nor a consumer, should step one foot into family court without reading this fantastic book." --Lenore Walker, EdD, MS, Professor, College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University "Toby Kleinman is a leading expert on representing abused parents and children in custody litigation. This book clearly and eloquently explains the realities of custody litigation and translates what some have called the 'oz-like' quality of such cases into terms anyone can understand. Most importantly, she conveys the ways abuse in the family impacts every family member and, most of all, court personnel, who need to know what is in this book in order to avoid being snowed into not protecting at-risk children." --Joan S. Meier, JD, Professor of Clinical Law, George Washington University Law School; Founder and Legal Director Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP) "For family law attorneys, this book offers a glimpse of how important their work can be. It also explains why domestic abuse survivors leaving this family dynamic need to be treated with sensitivity, patience, and understanding. This book is a must-read for those in the mental health field working with domestic abuse survivors engaged in family court matters, and for attorneys practicing in, or wanting to practice in, family law." --CHOICE "Domestic Abuse, Child Custody, and Visitation shouts collaboration and consultation from beginning to end....Within the contents f this book lie realistic insights into the relationship cycle via victim chronology, cycle of violence, and power and control wheels. The textbook clearly demonstrates...the necessity of relationship enhancement between social workers, attorney,s judges, and the court system." -The New Social Worker "This book covers the legal and psychological factors regarding domestic abuse survivors leaving the abusive relationship.... [It] is a must-read for those in the mental health field working with domestic abuse survivors engaged in family court matters, and for attorneys practicing in, or wanting to practice in, family law." -CHOICE

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