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22 UALR L. Rev. 501 (1999-2000)
Qualifications of the Techniques to Be Used by Judges, Attorneys, and Mental Health Professionals Who Deal the Children in High Conflict Divorce Cases

handle is hein.journals/ualr22 and id is 511 raw text is: QUALIFICATIONS OF AND TECHNIQUES TO BE USED BY
JUDGES, ATTORNEYS, AND MENTAL HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS WHO DEAL WITH CHILDREN IN HIGH
CONFLICT DIVORCE CASES
Barry Bricklin, Ph.D.'
Gail Elliot, Ph.D.**
I. THE IMPACT ON CHILDREN OF HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE
The world of the high conflict custody disputant is topsy-turvy.
Diagnostic tools that are very effective when used with most people are
ineffective in this world. Standard therapeutic processes are not only
ineffective in this world, but typically become the source of more, rather
than fewer problems in the future.
While we can find no formal definition of high conflict divorce,
most researchers endorse the notion that things are at their worst (I)
when post-divorce conflicts last more than two years, (2) when the
children become enmeshed in the parents' continued disputes, and (3)
when the parents have poor coping strategies.'
A. The Empirical Evidence
Cooperative co-parenting relationships are achieved by only one
fourth of divorcing couples. Another quarter of divorcing couples have
acrimonious relationships, and the remaining half experience various
levels of conflict in their relationships.' Marital conflict has more
negative effects on children's adjustment than has been demonstrated
for any other researched variable (i.e., gender, age, parent adjustment,
custody disposition).
Emery concluded that poorer psychological adjustment is found in
children in both intact and divorced families where levels of parent
conflict are high.3 A meta-analysis of ninety-two studies found that
* Adjunct Associate Professor, The Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology,
Widener University; Executive Director, The Professional Academy of Custody
Evaluators.
** Head, Child Development and Family Processes, Bricklin Associates; Vice
Executive Director, The Professional Academy of Custody Evaluators.
1. See David B. Doolittle & Robin Deutsch, Children and High-Conflict Divorce:
Theory, Research and Intervention, in THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF CHILD CUSTODY DECISIONS
425 (Robert M. Galatzer-Levy & Louis Kraus eds., 1999).
2. See ELEANOR E. MACCOBY & ROBERT H. MNOOKIN, DIVIDING THE CHILD: SOCIAL
AND LEGAL DILEMMAS OF CUSTODY (1992).
3. See Robert E. Emery, Interparental Conflict and the Children of Discord and

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