Tools and Guides

10 Things to Know About Parenting Plans in Cases Involving Domestic Violence

October 1, 2019

A main goal of a custody case is to create a parenting plan that meets the family’s needs. If you’re a domestic violence survivor, that plan needs to be safe for you and your children. A knowledgeable lawyer is one of the best sources of help. But many survivors cannot find or afford a lawyer. If you’re on your own, this guide has basic information on parenting plans to help you get started. Laws and programs may be different for each state, and even for courts in the same state. Some of the information here may not apply to your situation. To learn about your local laws, call your family court, selfhelp center, or law library. This guide by the Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody, a project of the NCJFCJ, can help create a safe parenting plan for domestic violence survivors and their children.

Custody Mediation and Domestic Violence: A Resource Guide for Mediators

March 6, 2019

Mediation is widely used in the area of family law, where custody mediation is often mandated by statute or ordered by the court. According to statistics collected by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and report an intimate partner violence-related impact during their lifetime. Intimate partner violence is also reported in more than half of all divorce cases. Based on these numbers, custody mediators are likely to encounter domestic violence in at least half of their cases.

For this reason, the NCJFCJ's Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody (RCDV:CPC) has prepared this guide as a reference tool for mediators seeking to improve their practice on custody cases involving domestic violence. This publication is not intended as a substitute for thorough and ongoing training on domestic violence, but rather seeks to provide mediators with helpful links to existing literature and resources on this important topic.

How to Navigate Custody Mediation in Cases Involving Domestic Violence

March 6, 2019

If you are a domestic violence survivor and have been ordered or referred to mediation for your custody case, this guide can provide you with some basic information. A lawyer who understands domestic violence and mediation practice in your area would be most helpful. But many survivors cannot find or afford lawyers to represent them. For this reason, we created this guide for self-represented litigants. It includes general information on custody mediation and tips for how to prepare.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act: Guide for Court Personnel and Judges

July 18, 2018

Interstate custody cases involving domestic violence arrive at the courthouse in a variety of ways:

  • A victim of domestic violence who has fled for safety from another state seeks an emergency custody order from your court.
  • A left-behind parent files for custody in your court, seeking the return of the children from another state.
  • A victim with a custody order from another state seeks enforcement of the order in your state because the other parent has refused to return the children.
  • A victim with a custody order from another state seeks a modification from your court because the other parent has been abusive during visitation with the children. 
  • A victim from another state seeks a protection order with a custody provision.
  • A protection order from one state and a custody order from another contain conflicting provisions regarding the children.

This guide, developed by the Legal Resource Center on Violence Against Women, the National Center on State Courts, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is intended to help you to determine whether your court has jurisdiction to enter or modify a child custody order in these and other interstate cases, as well as to understand your responsibilities to enforce orders from other jurisdictions. The guide includes four components: (1) an overview of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the UCCJEA), a uniform state law that governs decision-making about jurisdiction in interstate custody cases; (2) a practice guide for judicial officers that includes strategies for effective implementation of the UCCJEA in your court; (3) a similar practice guide for non-judicial court personnel; and (4) a copy of the UCCJEA and a chart with citations to state versions of the UCCJEA.

Model Order Appointing a Custody Evaluator

June 1, 2016

This model order is a tool designed to assist judges in drafting orders for the appointment of custody evaluators, particularly in cases where domestic violence is an issue. The order and companion commentary guide a judge through considerations in key elements of an appointment order. Electronic copies of the order are available for easy modification to comply with local rules and practice. 


Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody.


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