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Published in: Family and Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly, Volume 03, Number 03, Winter 2011 , pp.285-288(4)


Our laws reflect our values. What we value, we make laws to protect. In this article, Tricia Martland describes the child custody statute in North Dakota, which is the only state to use “clear and convincing” standard of evidence. This means that children will not be placed with parents with a history of domestic violence unless there is clear and convincing evidence of their rehabilitation. Other states deem the clear and convincing standard too stringent. Yet this standard is often used with regard to property title. Do our laws indicate that we value things over children? Changing policy to apply the same degree of protection to children that we do for property requires using the clear and convincing evidence standard.