Criteria used by family counsellors in child custody cases: a psychological viewpoint
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As a result of the high South African divorce rate, and its consequential impact on the need to protect the interests of affected children, the basis on which custody decisions are made is an important area o study. Such research can illuminate current practice, point to problems and provide suggestions for improvement. Child custody placement is a practice that draws on the knowledge of several disciplines, each of which increasingly accountable to uphold the principle that the child's best interests must ultimately underpin all decisions. Psychology plays a significant role both as discipline and practice in contributing to the decision-making processes that attend custody matters. Since the 1960s and more particularly since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations in 1989, mental health disciplines have played an increasing role in defining the terms of children's "best interests". The psychological literature addresses a range of issues that have the potential to inform the decision-making process in custody matters.