Saturday, October 29, 2005

Custody evaluations are unscientific

I ran across some articles that explain how unscientific and bogus child custody evaluations are. Reputable psychologists do not do them. They would not even be admissible in court if the court followed its own rules of evidence.

Unfortunately, the articles are not readily available online. Here is what I have.

Thomas Grisso:

Replying to the paper by Tippins and Wittmann, this commentary notes that the problems they identify have been recognized for many years, yet this has resulted in little change in the practice of child custody evaluations. Three underlying reasons are offered for the stalemate that frustrates the implementation of standards for an empirically based child custody evaluation practice: (a) the economics of child custody evaluation practice; (b) inconsistencies between proposals to restrict testimony in this area and the lack of similar restrictions in most other areas of forensic practice; and (c) inadequate motivation for researchers who might contribute an empirical base for child custody evaluations. Directions for breaking the stalemate are offered for each of these problems.
Leslie Eaton:
William O'Donohue, a psychology professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, is calling for a moratorium on forensic evaluations until more research is done.

"Psychologists don't have the knowledge to do what they attempt to do when they do custody evaluations," he said.

Many custody decisions, he said, involve not scientific findings, but competing values, like a father's wish that his child excel in sports versus the mother's emphasis on studying.

While mental health experts have been debating these issues for several years, the legal world has been slower to recognize them, at least in New York.

Enter Timothy M. Tippins, an Albany lawyer who increasingly specializes in cross-examining forensic experts. For almost a year, Mr. Tippins has been writing articles in The New York Law Journal questioning the role and expertise of forensic evaluators in custody cases. He has teamed up with Dr. Wittmann to write a paper titled "Empirical and Ethical Problems With Custody Recommendations: A Call for Clinical Humility and Judicial Vigilance."

Among its recommendations is a call for judges to "begin to help the psychology discipline rein in itself" by not demanding or accepting specific custody plans.
Scientific American Mind:
Custody Disputed
The guidelines judges and psychologists use to decide child custody cases have little basis in science. The system must be rebuilt on better research
By Robert E. Emery, Randy K. Otto and William O'Donohue

Courts are overwhelmed with couples who are splitting up and disputing custody of their children. If parents cannot agree on their children's fates, a judge will decide who gets custody, and increasingly, psychologists are becoming involved as expert evaluators during legal wranglings. But do any of these professionals have proof that the bases for their life-determining decisions are empirically sound? It seems not, and it is the boys and girls who suffer.
I'll try to get more complete articles and post more info. Both sides are apparently represented here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You obviously have gender issues and need therapy.

To post your "thoughts" about your co-parenting problems on a website, which your children have access to and have witnessed you writing, is defacto parental alienation.

Your link to that misogynist Leykis says it all...