evaluations should be conducted with due regard for scientificmethods, extant behavioral science research, ethical standardsand professional practice guidelines. This responsibility is furtherheightened by the need to protect the well-being of children of divorcing parents
and to avoid inadvertently harming families ata time of enormous stress and conflict.
Criticism of Evaluations Falling Below APA Standards
Unfortunately, CCEs frequently fall below recommendedpractice methods promulgated by the American PsychologicalAssociation (“APA”). Commentators have criticized the quality,reliability, and utility of CCEs by noting the lack of scientificmethodology, empirical grounding, and psycholegal relevancecommon among these reports.
This article discusses the requirement that expert testimonyregarding parenting competency and comparative custodial suita-bility must meet legal standards of admissibility. It builds on aprior article coauthored by Dr. Jonathan Gould.
Marc J. Ackerman & Melissa C. Ackerman,
Child Custody EvaluationPractices: A 1996 Survey of Psychologists
, 30 F
. L.Q. 565 (1996).
, & C
VALUATIONS FOR THE
: A H
(2nd ed. 1997); DanielA. Krauss & Bruce D. Sales,
Legal Standards, Expertise, and Experts in theResolution of Contested Child Custody Cases
, 6 P
& L. 843(2000); Timothy M. Tippins & Jeffrey P. Wittman,
Empirical and Ethical Problems with Custody Recommendations: A Call for Clinical Humility and Ju-dicial Vigilance,
(April 2005); Ira D. Turkat,
Questioningthe Mental Health Expert’s Custody Report
, 7 A
. J. F
. L. 175 (1993).
The authors wish to thank Dana Royce Baerger, Robert Galatzer-Levy, and Sandra G. Nye for allowing us to liberally use their prior article:Dana Royce Baerger, Robert Galatzer-Levy, Jonathan W. Gould, & Sandra G.Nye,
Methodology for Reviewing the Reliability and Relevance of Child CustodyEvaluations,
18 J. A
. 35 (2002).