Child Custody Evaluations: Review of the Literature and Annotated Bibliography

70 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2014

See all articles by Barbara A. Babb

Barbara A. Babb

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Gloria Danziger

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Judith Moran

University of Baltimore

J. Weeda

Independent

William Mack

Independent

Date Written: April 1, 2009

Abstract

This review of custody evaluation literature encompasses a number of perspectives gleaned from the following: practitioners who perform the evaluations; the professional organizations that recognize the necessity to establish performance standards for practitioners; and the judges who depend on the findings and recommendations in the evaluations to assist with difficult custody decisions.

General agreement exists among practitioners about the components of a comprehensive evaluation (interviews of adults responsible for child care, interviews of children and their preferences, life histories, observations, psychological testing, document review, and collateral source data), though little consensus exists about the details of performance concerning a given component. For instance, many authors recommend direct parent-child observations, but there is little agreement about observational protocols (Hynan, 2002). Choice of psychological test(s) is largely left to the discretion of the evaluator (Turkat, 2005), though evaluators are urged to choose tests that address issues of parenting capacity (AFCC Standards, 2006; DeWard, 2005). Stark differences of opinion exist concerning the suitability of using several commonly employed tests, including the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), Rorschach, and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory - III (MCMI-III). One author believes these tests were designed for other uses and should be excluded from the custody evaluation process (Ericson, 2007), while others assert that these tests are helpful to verify information reported by parents, children, and others in disputed custody cases (Jaffe & Mandeleew, 2008). Parent inventory tests designed for use in custody evaluations, such as the Parent-Child Relationship Inventory (Gerard, 2005) and the Parenting Stress Index (Abidin, 1995), are used more frequently since the inception of the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines (1994) (Quinnell & Bow, 2001).

Keywords: child custody, evaluations, performance standards, judges, courts, custody decisions, family law, children, parents, MMPI, TAT, MCMI-III, disputes, APA, Parent-Child Relationship Inventory, Parenting Stress Index,

JEL Classification: J12, J13, K19, K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Babb, Barbara A. and Danziger, Gloria and Moran, Judith and Weeda, J. and Mack, William, Child Custody Evaluations: Review of the Literature and Annotated Bibliography (April 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2496930 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2496930

Barbara A. Babb (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States
410-837-5661 (Phone)
410-837-5737 (Fax)

Gloria Danziger

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

Judith Moran

University of Baltimore ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States

J. Weeda

Independent ( email )

William Mack

Independent

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
71
Abstract Views
630
rank
378,550
PlumX Metrics