National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Impact of Legal Representation on Child Custody Decisions among Families with a History of Intimate Partner Violence in King County, Washington, 2000-2010 (ICPSR 35356)

Principal Investigator(s): Kernic, Mary A., University of Washington

Summary:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they there received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except of the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompany readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collections and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

The major aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that legal representation of the Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) victim in child custody decisions leads to greater legal protections being awarded in these decisions compared to similar cases of unrepresented IPV victims. A retrospective cohort study was conducted among King County couples with minor children filing for marriage dissolution in King County, Washington between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010 who had a history of police or court documented intimate partner violence (IPV). The study examined the separate effects of private legal representation and legal aid representation relative to propensity score-matched, unrepresented comparison subjects. Primary study outcomes were measured at the time the first "Final Parenting Plan" was awarded. Researchers also examined the two-year period post-decree among the subset of cases with filing between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009 for post-decree court proceedings indicative of continued child custody or visitation disputes.

Access Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the restricted-use data. A login is required to apply.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

    Any public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Dataset(s)

Dataset
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Study Description

Citation

Kernic, Mary A. Impact of Legal Representation on Child Custody Decisions among Families with a History of Intimate Partner Violence in King County, Washington, 2000-2010. ICPSR35356-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-06-13. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35356.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35356.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2010-IJ-CX-0022)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    abuse allegations, attorney representation, attorneys, child abuse, child custody, child neglect, child support, divorce, employment, injuries, intimate partner violence, marriage, medical care, mental health, parent child relationship, parenting skills, wrongful incrimination

Geographic Coverage:    King County, United States, Washington

Date of Collection:   

  • 2000-01-01--2010-12-31

Unit of Observation:    Divorce cases.

Universe:    King County, Washington couples with minor children who filed for marriage dissolution within the King County Superior Court (KCSC) between January 1, 2000 and December 21, 2010.

Data Type(s):    medical records, survey data

Data Collection Notes:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

Included in this release is a Stata syntax file that contains code to generate the descriptive statistics and final models.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   

This study has three specific aims:

  1. To describe the prevalence of legal representation of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) victims among married, heterosexual couples undergoing marriage dissolution involving children during an eleven-year period in a population-based sample (separately by whether that representation was by a legal aid attorney or a private attorney).
  2. To estimate the effect of legal representation of IPV victims among married, heterosexual couples undergoing marriage dissolution involving children during an eleven-year period in a population-based sample (separately by whether that representation was by a legal aid attorney or a private attorney) on child custody and visitation outcomes including the proportion of couples for whom: 1) visitation is denied to the abusing parent, 2) supervised visitation between the abusing parent and the child(ren) is ordered, 3) restrictions are placed on the abusing parent's child visitation, 4) treatment program completion is a prerequisite to the abusing parent's child visitation, and 5) sole decision-making is awarded to the non-IPV-abusing parent.
  3. To estimate the effect of legal representation on the following set of secondary outcomes: 1) post-dissolution child custody and visitation disputes, 2) court order of professional supervision of visitation, 3) court order that future dispute resolution to be conducted only through the court, 4) prohibition of overnight visitation by the abusing parent, 5) formal court findings of IPV, 6) post-decree child custody/visitation disputes, and 7) primary residential parent status is awarded to the abusing parent (adverse outcome).

Study Design:    A retrospective cohort study was conducted among King County couples with minor children filing for marriage dissolution in King County, Washington between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010 who had a history of police or court documented intimate partner violence (IPV). Propensity score methodology was incorporated into the sampling design to assure balance between study groups on important covariates. All potential study subjects were identified through the use of existing computerized court data on marriage dissolutions involving children filed in King County, Washington during the study period. Data from several sources were linked using names and dates of birth of the divorcing parties to identify a history of IPV: 1. Seattle Police Department (SPD) data on police-reported incidents of IPV; 2. King County court filings of civil protection orders; and 3. King County court filings of criminal no contact orders.

Sample:   

The projected study sample consisted of King County couples with minor, dependent children petitioning for dissolution of marriage and with a documented history of police- or court-reported, male-perpetrated IPV. Specifically, all such cases filed within the KCSC system in Seattle or Kent, Washington between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010 as identified from the OAC Superior Court Management Information System (SCOMIS) database, comprised the initial eligible pool from which the study sample was drawn.

Using propensity score matching, the study matched both civil paid and pro bono/legal aid represented cases 1:1 with comparison group subjects (comparison group n=750) for a total sample size of 1,500 cases.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Weight:    None

Mode of Data Collection:    record abstracts

Description of Variables:   

Dataset ad_pr_dec(n=3079) with 284 variables consisting of questions about children such as abuse, abandonment, injury, neglect, inappropriate sexual behavior, abuse-related medical treatment. It has variables pertaining to Intimate Partner violence (IPV), for example, stalking, abuse, kidnapping, criminal involvement, IPV-related medical issues, IPV-related injury, threats of harm, sexual behavior. It also has questions related to marriage and parenting such as anger management, employment status, parenting classes, supervised visitation.

Dataset legal_rep_main (n=1607) with 580 variables contains questions about violence, such as IPV abuse, child abuse, child witnessing abuse. It also has issues in the case, including allegations of abuse, appointment of a GAL/CASA, need for a family evaluation, need for an interpreter and mediation. There were questions pertaining to the divorce settlement and findings such as protection order, fees, spousal maintenance, transfer payments, tax exemptions, anger management, visitation, and child support. There were also variables about violence, injuries, and illness, such as suicide, threats, harm, police incidents, guns and weapons, and drug violations.

Dataset cinjspec (n=186) with 10 variables consisting of questions about child abuse injuries, such as allegations and substantiations by father and mother. Injuries noted consisted of bruises, fractures, head trauma, burns, and sexual abuse.

Dataset cothspec (n=4579) with 10 variables consisting of data pertaining to other child abuse, for example substantiated by the father and mother.

Dataset criminvspec (n=903) with 10 variables consisting questions about criminal involvement of the mother and father, specifically drug and alcohol crimes, violent crimes, and non0violent crimes.

Dataset ctxspec (n=30) with 10 variables consisting of data about child abuse-related medical treatment required, such as Chiropractor, urgent care visit, hospitalization, sexual abuse evaluation, and visit to physician or dentist.

Dataset mhothspec (n=286) with 10 variables consisting of questions about other mental health issues, such as witholding/interfering with the other parent's visitation, wrongful incrimination resulting in loss of contact with children, and interfering with a 911 call.

Dataset othmispec (n=870) with 10 variables consists of topics about mental illness of the mother and father, for example mood disorder, Schizophrenia, personality disorder, anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder, and eating disorder.

Dataset othospec (n=726) with 10 variables consisting of questions about emotional abuse of people outside the family.

Dataset pinjspec (n=479) with 10 variables containing information about partner abuses resulting in bruises, contusions, and fractures.

Dataset pothspec (n=1550) with 10 variables consisting of information about partner abuse, such as domestic violence, IPV property crime, and custody-related threats.

Dataset pr_othrecspec (n=286) with 6 variables consisting of professional recommendations towards the mother and father, for example that they follow psychological and medical management plans and comply with protective orders.

Dataset ptxspec (n=130) with 10 variables containing questions about types of IPV-related medical treatments like urgent care visits, hospitalization, and surgery.

Response Rates:    Study involved existing data and abstraction from existing court case files. 100% of sampled cases were included.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:   2017-06-13

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