Lawyers' Opinions Regarding Child Custody Mediation and Assessment Services: Implications for Psychological Practice

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Abstract

Psychologists who conduct divorce mediation or child custody assessment must understand the context of such professional practice and the views of other professions involved, such as lawyers. In this study, family lawyers (N = 161) completed a questionnaire about mediation and assessment of custody disputes, indicating positive attitudes toward mediation and recognition of its favorable effects on the family. Lawyers viewed assessment as a desirable alternative to litigation but did not associate it with enhanced family functioning. Lawyers strongly endorsed the need for abuse screening prior to mediation. Distinctions between the roles of lawyers and psychologists are emphasized. The necessity of effective abuse screening is highlighted.

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