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February 1976

A Consideration of Legal Issues in Child Custody Contests: Implications for Change

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Va.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(2):165-171. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770020019003

• The author reviews the criteria by which courts award custody of children and determine visitation rights. In the case described there have been repeated attempts by the noncustodial father to obtain visitation and to modify custody arrangements. A review of literature pertaining to the effects of divorce on children reveals an absence of the type of empirical studies that would be most effective in influencing the courts. The practices outlined in the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, model legislation recently approved by the American Bar Association, are discussed in relation to the case, and are not found to improve appreciably on current practice. The author suggests that the condition of children in the courts can be considerably improved by the involvement of child psychiatrists in consultation, education, and empirical research.

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