Best-Interests Standard

Relocation Collection (5 Items)

This collection of five items consists of Dr. Warshak’s publications relevant to cases involving a proposed relocation or moveaway by one parent with the child(ren) away from the other parent. The collection includes four journal articles and one monograph based on a chapter for a difficult to acquire manual for judges and attorneys published by the State Bar of Texas. Continue reading

Child Custody & Divorce Collection (13 Items)

This collection of twelve items consists of Dr. Warshak’s publications relevant to father custody, joint custody, mother custody, and children’s role in custody decisions. The collection includes three journal articles, a law review article, a brief book chapter, an article published by the American Bar Association, a video, four papers based on speeches, and a transcript of testimony to the U.S. Commission on Child and Family Welfare. Continue reading

Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report

Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report

When parents are married, they generally share the care of their babies —diapering, feeding, bathing, putting to bed, soothing in the middle of the night, cuddling in the morning. But if parents separate or divorce, should children under four spend every
night in one home? Or will infants and toddlers benefit from spending overnight time in the care of each parent?

Continue reading

Securing Children’s Best Interests While Resisting the Lure of Simple Solutions

Securing Children’s Best Interests While Resisting the Lure of Simple Solutions

The best-interest-of-the-child standard for child custody policy and decisions has benefits and hazards, the latter related to the exercise of judicial discretion in custody disputes. This paper examines  alternatives to the status quo, including the primary parent presumption, the approximation rule, shared parenting, an exact even split of custodial time, sole custody for couples labeled in high conflict or those with young children, the friendly parent presumption, Continue reading

In a Land Far, Far Away: Assessing Children’s Best Interests in International Relocation Cases

In a Land Far, Far Away: Assessing Children’s Best Interests in International Relocation Cases

This paper focuses on international relocations, but much of it is highly relevant to domestic relocation cases and to cases in which there is a possibility that a parent will want to travel to, or move to, another country. The article discusses the importance of examining the stated and unstated reasons and motives for the proposed move, and lists some of the more compelling reasons that might justify a relocation. Continue reading

Parenting By The Clock: The Best-Interest-of-The-Child Standard, Judicial Discretion, and the American Law Institute’s “Approximation Rule”

Parenting By The Clock: The Best-Interest-of-The-Child Standard, Judicial Discretion, and the American Law Institute’s “Approximation Rule”

The American Law Institute (ALI) proposes that in contested physical custody cases the court should allocate to each parent a proportion of the child’s time that approximates the proportion of time each spent performing caretaking functions in the past. Proposals from ALI strongly influence legislatures and judges. These articles analyze the “approximation rule” through the lens of child development research and conclude that the rule is unlikely to improve on the Continue reading

The Approximation Rule Survey: The American Law Institute’s Proposed Reform Misses the Target

The Approximation Rule Survey: The American Law Institute’s Proposed Reform Misses the Target

The American Law Institute (ALI) proposed that in contested physical custody cases, the court should allocate to each parent a proportion of the child’s time that approximates the proportion of time each spent performing caretaking functions in the past. The rule is intended to function as a default presumption in disputes decided by a court and as a backdrop for pre-trial negotiations. Proponents of the approximation rule assume that the adoption of the rule, by Continue reading

Benefits and Hazards of Involving Children in Custody Decisions – video download

30-benefits-and-hazardsOn this video, see and hear Dr. Warshak deliver what he considers one of his finest speeches. This entertaining and very well-received keynote address was delivered to an audience of judges, attorneys, and mental health professionals.

Dr. Warshak explains why and how children can make important contributions to custody decisions. But he
cautions professionals about the risks of damage to children and their families when children participate in custody Continue reading

Payoffs and Pitfalls of Listening to Children

Payoffs and Pitfalls of Listening to Children

Children’s perspectives can enlighten decisions regarding custody and parenting plans, but different opinions exist about how best to involve children in the decision-making process. This journal article discusses why most procedures for soliciting children’s preferences do not reliably elicit information on their best interests and do not give children a meaningful voice in decision- making.

Instead these procedures give children forums in which to takes sides in Continue reading

Who Will Be There When I Cry In The Night?

Who Will Be There When I Cry In The Night?

This journal article is a follow-up to  Blanket Restrictions: Overnight Contact. It was written as a rejoinder to an article that attempted to refute the conclusions drawn in the Blanket Restrictions article.

This article makes the strong case that an accurate and balanced  account of the entire scientific literature relevant to the issue of overnights reveals the lack of scientific and logical justification Continue reading