Divorces with domestic violence and children are complicated. The Courts often struggle with how to juxtapose the allegations of domestic violence (along with the victim’s credibility and safety) with the ultimate question they are required to answer, “What is in the best interest of the child(ren)?” regarding custody, possession, and access.
There are particular issues specific to a batterer’s ability to parent, more thoroughly described and discussed in The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics by R. Lundy Bancroft & Jay G. Silverman, that complicate not just safety issues but behavioral issues for the children once they start visiting the battering parent outside the protective of the abused parent.
Some mechanism the Courts in Bexar County try to implement include supervised visitation and/or truncated visitation along with a graduated visitation schedule that will allow the Court and, hopefully, mental health professionals to observe how the children to the battering parent during the course of the Temporary Orders. It is critical, however, that all professionals involved in the domestic violence divorce with children, be available to respond to issues as they are raised so as to protect the Children from further trauma during the litigation process.
It is worth noting, and it may perhaps serve as a silver lining, that once a Court orders the battering parent to attend and participate with a Batterers Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP), the battering parent can be rehabilitated.