Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles
Download the FCEP Guiding Principles PDF

The guiding principles set forth below are intended to be broadly applicable in diverse communities and courts across the country, despite some significant differences in governing legal standards, court processes and structure, demographic characteristics, etc. Rather than prescribe a specific approach to addressing domestic violence in child custody and related cases, we instead offer guidance that may be tailored to the unique characteristics and needs of each individual community and court. The guiding principles are meant to encourage professionals across the system to engage in collaborative efforts to improve outcomes for families in cases involving domestic violence—to move beyond business as usual and to consider innovative approaches potentially outside existing practices and comfort zones. Please refer to the PDF for additional information.

Guiding principles in action

To facilitate communities’ and courts’ incorporation of the guiding principles into their unique systems and processes, we have provided examples of the guiding principles in action, using examples from the FCEP project sites and other communities. The diversity of the sites and their implementation strategies should provide other communities with ideas for how to achieve the more general objectives expressed by the guiding principles in the context of a community’s unique characteristics. Each of the sites providing examples of the guiding principles in action has agreed to provide more information and guidance to professionals in other communities on the development and implementation of the strategy.

For more information about the Guiding Principles, please use the Contact form or contact the National Council of Juvenile of Family Court Judges.

#1: Account for DV in Court Orders

#2: Court Access for Litigants

#3: Prioritize Custody Cases with DV

#4: Access to Relevant History

#5: Legal Advice and Representation

#6: Safe Dispute Resolution

#7: Informed, Voluntary, and Autonomous Processes

#8: Legal and Practical Information for Litigants

#9: Safe and Informed Disclosure of DV

#10: Access to Support Services

#11: Sufficient Resources, Staff, and Training

#12: Evaluate Public Information Accuracy

#13: Evaluate Effectiveness of DV Efforts

#14: Evaluate Consistency with Principles

#15: Evidence-based Best Practices

#16: Access for Underserved communities