"What influences women when they are making child custody decisions that will bring them into future contact with a violent or controlling ex-husband? Fear, pragmatism, and the belief--sometimes reinforced in mandated divorce education classes--that their children will suffer if both parents are not in their lives, according to a University of Illinois study in the August Journal of Social and Personal Relationships," reported in Medical News Today, Child Custody With Abusive Ex-spouse? Study Shows How Women Decide
"Women also feared courtroom dynamics and a lengthy custody battle. One participant said, 'Get me into a courtroom where they're going to grill me and ask me questions and it's frightening. I don't like that grilling; it's very reminiscent of what he did to me for many, many years. I didn't fight it. I did like I always do. I backed down,' she continued. 'I thought he was going to drag this out until I'm 100 years old."
Thanks to Janet Jangjahr's Shared Parenting: Ultimate Power Tool of a Controlling or Abusive Parent in her Florida Divorce Law Blog for finding this study.