Child Custody Litigation

A Guide For Lawyers, Parents and Mental Health Professionals


  • How protracted litigation causes psychiatric disturbances
  • Psychopathology produced in parents and/or children by litigation
  • Advantages and disadvantages of custodial arrangements
  • The role of the impartial examiner

Intended to discourage parents from litigating for custody, this book directs them to less traumatic ways to resolve their disputes. Mental health professionals learn how child custody litigation can produce psychopathology, and how to employ alternative and preferable modes of child custody dispute resolution. Legal professionals discover key areas where changes in the adversarial system would be most effective.

The first section discusses the psychodynamics arising in parents and children from protracted custody disputes. The second section describes alternative methods for resolving custody conflicts, emphasizing the need to differentiate between those who can successfully utilize these alternatives and those who cannot. The concept of mediation is advanced as one desirable solution. Utilizing mental health professionals as impartial examiners, rather than as advocates, is recommended for those committed to litigation.

The next section discusses psychotherapeutic approaches to treating families who have been traumatized by protracted custody litigation. This material will aid parents in selecting the most effective therapist, and therapists who read it will acquire valuable information for treating these patients. The final section deals with various proposed changes in the social structure, the legal system, and the educational process that may lessen the likelihood that individuals will litigate for child custody.

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