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Role of the Expert in Child Custody Battles

In a divorce proceeding that is a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR), it is necessary to attempt to ascertain the meaning of "psychological best interest of the child".  There have been many statements that is the desired standard in custodial dispositions.  It seems quite clear that the psychological best interest of the child test is an organizing concept which can relate and integrate all relevant data in relation to custodial disposition.  These datas fall into several general categories. 

First, you have to determine what might broadly be called a social environment.  One aspect of the child's environment is his school needs.  Typically, the neighborhood school would be adequate but sometimes because of the presence of emotional disturbance or a particular intellectual deficiency, a special kind of educational experience may be indicated. 

Occasionally, the issue of material need is raised.  In other words, how will the child continue his/her prior standard of living.

One crucial need of all children is adequate social stimulation.  In other words, it needs to be made sure that the child has sufficient opportunity for ongoing relationships with other children, and confrontation with progressively more complex social experiences which facilitates the individual maturation and development.  Sometimes, a child may need some special type of physical or psychological therapy.

It is important in a divorce or child custody battle where the court and all parties involved should be looking to what is in the best interest of the child to recall that it is often important to have a psychologist as an expert witness who can testify as to what will be in the psychological best interest of the child.  The appointment of who will have custody or even in a subsequent modification suit the social background and the psychological affect on the children must be examined. 

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