Book Review: The Unfinished Business of Modern Court Reform: Reflections on ‘Children, Courts, and Custody’ by Andrew I. Schepard

27 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2010

Date Written: 2004


Children, Courts, and Custody, by Andrew Schepard, is a book with multidisciplinary appeal consistent with the author's call for an increasingly interdisciplinary approach to the topic of child custody. It will be of prime interest to legal and mental health professionals who work with divorcing families as well as parents seeking a better understanding of the child custody system. After briefly describing the societal values and the empirical evidence that led to change, this review will focus on the unfinished business of family court reform. Although there is general agreement that the majority of families benefit significantly from a less adversarial approach to divorce, there is less consensus about how high-conflict and violent families fare under a system stressing self-determination, conflict reduction, and continued involvement by both parents. Accordingly, programs originally designed for low to moderate-conflict families will be evaluated based on their effectiveness with families who have a history of violence. In this context, proposals to consolidate court reform and create special programs assisting violent and high-conflict families will be explored. Finally, consideration will be given to whether the changing culture of family courts requires revisiting professional roles and reforming substantive law. (This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.)

Keywords: Parent education, mediation, family law, supervised visitation, Differentiated Case Management, parenting, domestic violence

Suggested Citation

Ver Steegh, Nancy, Book Review: The Unfinished Business of Modern Court Reform: Reflections on ‘Children, Courts, and Custody’ by Andrew I. Schepard (2004). Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 2, 2004, William Mitchell Legal Studies Research, Available at SSRN:

Nancy Ver Steegh (Contact Author)

Mitchell Hamline School of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
651-290-6342 (Phone)


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