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Chapter 13

PSYC 3310 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Neurosis, Eval, Tender Years

Course Code
PSYC 3310
Gwen Jenkins

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Chapter 13 Child Custody Decisions:
Extent of the Problem:
Parents who kidnap tend to have strong ties with kids, view other parent as
incompetent, doubt ability of child-protection agencies/courts to render justice
Men majority of abductors
What Roles Can Psychologists Play?:
Can work with 1 member of family, couple together, or kids
Marriage Counsellor:
If couple sought help for marriage, but then decides divorce, counsellor shouldn’t be
given responsibility of advising judge about best custody arrangements for kids
Reason is it creates conflict of interest, psychologist would have dual relationship
o Has had therapeutic rel with couple, now asked to be objective evaluator of
Ethical principles dictate matters revealed in privacy of counselling rel
should remain there
If cant agree on custody, have mediation as alternative to litigation
Mediation has several attractions:
o More informal, rules of evidence don’t have to be allowed, court
personnel/adversarial lawyers aren’t present
However specially trained lawyers may serve as mediators
o Sessions usually held in private, proceedings are confidential
o Participants in mediation more satisfied with process/outcome than those who
use courts
o Cases settled quickly than if go through court
Psychs/lawyers can be Ms
Allocation of material recourse in divorce have implications for child custody
M is to try and help parties resolve diffs through agreement

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Explores options with couple, safe environ for communication
Mediator can distinguish between demands/needs, examination of underlying needs
can sometimes resolve disputes
Provides opportunity in less charged atmosphere to discuss and things will be divided,
custody structured, visitation implemented
Process may increase emotional acceptance of divorce by 2 parties
May establish atmosphere that helps former spouses establish new working rel that’s
essential for co-parenting
Mediation harder if 1 parent is passive, in such families litigation may be necessary cuz
mediator cant be advocate for 1 side
In high-conflict divorced may increase strength of association between parental/child
Child Therapist:
Cant be evaluator eg of kids rel with 1 parent
But can be fact witness [not expert], might testify about 1 parents commitment to is
mental health while avoiding any recommendation about custody
Court-Appointed Evaluator:
When custody of kid emerges as issue in divorce settlement, judge may ask
clinical/counselling psych to serve as CAE
o Make eval of/recommendation as to best custody arrangement
In making custody order, must look to best interests of kid
o Relevant issues health/emotional well-being of kid, love affection between
parent/kid, kids education, parents capacity to look after, views of kid [typically
more as they get older]
Judge makes ultimate determination, but rarely consult psychs
Help judge by giving clinical impression about alliances/conflicts w/in family
Investigation of marital conflict might help in prediction of whether joint custody would
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