Over the past five to 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the use of child custody evaluations by the courts. At the same time, the issues have become more complex and difficult. In this book, the author provides a theoretical and practical understanding of many of the issues. A key component is the integration of disparate research findings into a comprehensive resource that will enable the evaluator and the court to understand these complex issues. A second component is to provide a thorough understanding of the fact that divorce brings with it a set of complex needs, and evaluators and the courts must develop a paradigm for weighing these needs in a comprehensive manner.

Alienation and Alignment of Children

Alienation and alignment of children

Prior to 1970, it was rare that parents disputed custody of their children. Beginning in the early 1970s, parents began litigating over child custody as a result of changes in societal factors and custody laws. In a divorce study group meeting of the American Orthopsychiatric Association in 1984, participants noted a rise in sexual abuse allegations within the context of divorce. Following that meeting, a number of researchers began to look at the question of sexual abuse allegations in divorce, with the first articles on sexual abuse allegations in divorce being written in the mid-1980s. (For more on that subject, see Chapter 3.)

In 1987, Dr. Richard Gardner, a psychiatrist in New Jersey who had previously written extensively ...

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