DOI: 10.1111/fcre.12752 ISSN:

The emperor has no clothes: A systematic view of the status and future of child custody evaluation (CCE)

Benjamin D. Garber
  • Law


For all of the time, effort, and money invested in child custody evaluation (CCE) and for all of evaluators' emphases on collecting empirically sound data, CCE is not itself an empirically robust process. The reliability, validity, efficacy, and efficiency of CCE has never yet been adequately demonstrated. The science has yet even to define and measure the variables that constitute a healthy family, much less how one is to measure and recommend changes for conflicted systems in the midst of tectonic transitions. This article proposes five ways in which family law professionals and the culture at large should work to better serve the needs of our children: (1) the establishment of proactive parenting and co‐parenting education intended to diminish the frequency and magnitude of family conflict and improve the quality of child and family functioning; (2) the introduction of organized incentives that motivate healthy parenting and co‐parenting practices as opposed to negative consequences that do too‐little, too‐late; (3) a greater emphasis on social equity, cultural humility, and universal professional training; (4) the creation of ethical guidelines that disconnect continuing conflict from professional income; and (5) outcome research that feeds back into the evolution of these and related processes.

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