Post-Separation Visitation Disputes: Differential Interventions

BACKGROUND PAPER

(2001-FCY-6)

RATIONALE OF STUDY

High conflict families that continue to litigate over their children and have poor communication skills are often not suited to mediation or the traditional custody/access assessment. These families require an intervention that offers more direct input in exploring their problem-solving abilities to help them focus on their children rather than their past differences. The Office of the Children's Lawyer undertook a research project to examine two types of interventions with the high conflict families (focussed vs traditional evaluations) in access disputes before the court. Specifically, the data suggest that briefer, more solution-oriented approaches are as effective or more effective than the extensive traditional child custody evaluations that focussed on gathering "evidence." Additionally, an approach that offers to reduce court intervention and delays for children, and that focusses less on the past history of the parties and more on future problem-solving, would make more practical and theoretical sense.

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