domestic violence survivors often are forced to sacrifice their own safety in
order to continue living with their children. If they leave their abusers and
flee across state lines, survivors may lose their children in subsequent custody
cases. In some cases, it is because judges do not understand the impact of
domestic violence on children. In others, it is because abused women cannot
find lawyers to represent them.
When victims flee, they
need qualified attorneys – often in two states – to represent them in complex
cases. They may be
charged with parental kidnapping or face conflicting custody orders from
courts in different states. Because these cases involve a web of different
laws, without expert representation, victims may lose custody of their
children. For victims who have survived violence, this presents an untenable
choice: remain with abusers or potentially lose custody of their children when
they flee to safer locations.
YOU CAN MAKE A
DIFFERENCE! The LRC is seeking to expand its referral network of attorneys
able to represent survivors of domestic violence in interstate custody cases.
The LRC provides training
and support to attorneys handling interstate custody and domestic violence
cases. Sign-up for a training about interstate custody issues. If you are an organization interested in
having LRC staff present at a conference, please call 301-270-1550. Attorneys
also may call for technical assistance regarding particular cases.
Relevant case law summaries
are available from the LRC. The LRC also is collecting sample pleadings for
interstate custody cases. Please call the LRC at 301-270-1550 for more