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How violence in marriage spills over into co-parenting

Individuals who are subjected to abuse during their marriage may experience harassment during the first year of co-parenting a child with their former spouses. The level and type of harassment depends on what type of abuse those in New Jersey or elsewhere may experience. Researchers at the University of Illinois broke subjects into groups that had experienced coercive controlling behavior and those who experienced situational couple violence.

Those who experienced coercive controlling behavior found little support from the child's other parent. Coercive controlling behaviors include isolating a partner from friends or controlling how that person makes or spends money. Those who were subjected to situational couple violence found that the child's other parent did a better job of being there for the child. They also found that the other parent was there to back the parent up and otherwise provide support.

It is important to note that both groups experienced higher levels of harassment than couples who didn't experience violence in their marriages. One key difference for those who experienced coercive controlling behavior was how unpredictable it could be. Subjects reported that the abuse would subside at times before starting up again. The unpredictability was shown to cause both stress and fear for the victims.

If a person is subject to spousal abuse of any kind, it may impact whether he or she can have a relationship with a child. Depending on the scope of the abuse, it could put a child in harm's way either now or in the future. Witnessing abusive behavior or hearing about it is generally not considered in the best interest of a child. Abuse victims may move to have an abuser's parental rights revoked or limited. An attorney may be helpful in helping victims through this process.

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