22 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 253 (1996-1997)
Caught in the Middle: Protecting the Children of High-Conflict Divorce

handle is hein.journals/nyuls22 and id is 263 raw text is: RE VIEW ESSAYS
CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: PROTECTING THE
CHILDREN OF HIGH-CONFLICT DIVORCE
By Carla B. Garrity & Mitchell A. Baris. New York, New York: Lexington
Books, 1994. Pp. iii, 186. $19.95.
JANE W. ELLIS*
It is beyond dispute that ongoing interparental hostility is bad for chil-
dren.' We know, moreover, that children who continue to be exposed to
high levels of parental conflict following their parents' divorces have more
problems than children of parents whose fighting diminishes after divorce.2
Despite a consensus among psychologists about the dangers of ongoing pa-
rental conflict following divorce, there has been little explicit recognition
by courts or legislatures of the emotional and behavioral effects of such
conflict. Nor is there agreement among scholars or policy makers concern-
ing the best remedy or remedies, whether psychological or legal, when di-
vorced parents are unable or unwilling to change their damaging behavior.
Caught in the Middle presents the views of two child psychologists
about what should be done on behalf of children in cases of ongoing post-
divorce conflict. The authors discuss the effects of conflict on child devel-
opment, how to assess types and degrees of conflict, the creation and im-
plementation of a parenting plan for high-conflict divorces, and an
elaborate remedy for one of the most extreme of these situations, parental
alienation syndrome. The book's subject matter merits attention by par-
ents and professionals alike, and the book has received good publicity to
date.3 Unfortunately, it does not deserve the broad and eager audience
that it may attract. Caught in the Middle relies on poorly documented fac-
tual assertions and presents a proposal for dealing with cases of severe con-
flict that ignores certain crucial realities (including scarce economic
resources and the limited availability of first-rate clinicians) that must be
* Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law. BA., 1968, U.CJ.A.,
Graduate, 1973, Boston Family Institute, J.D., 1983, Yale Law School
1. ROBERT E. EMERY, MARRIAGE, DIVORCE AND CHILDREN'S ADJuS;TME 94-98
(1988); see also E. MARK CUNM1INOS & PATRICK DAVIES, CHILDREN AND MARITAL CON-
FUcr: THE ImpAcr OF FAutym Disputr Am REsoLurnoN 9 (1994) (finding that a high
level of family conflict is more strongly related to childhood difficulties than is family struc-
ture per se).
2. Id.
3. The book was an Alternate Selection of the Behavioral Science Book Service in
August of 1994.
253

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change

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