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Colorado Chapter of
The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts:

Family Law Through the Developmental Lens:
Assessing and Including the Voice of the Ever-Maturing Child

Conference brochure

Growing Up Is Hard To Do
Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D.
Family Law Consulting, PLLC
26 April, 2018

Click on images to access PowerPoint handouts

Part I:
Developmental psychology meets family law

The child's need to feel held can fail when parents conflict, separate and divorce, impacting security and maturation.

What is maturity?
Is there such a  thing as a "mature minor"?

Access the PP
                        handout here. Please be patient.

Part II:
Systemic confounds and the voice of the child

Relationship pressures can corrupt the child's presentation, leaving evaluators, GALs and the courts uncertain
what the child wants and needs.

What is adultification, parentification and infantilization?
What is the chameleon child?

Access the PP
                        handout here. Please be patient.

Part III:
Practical tools to better elicit the child's genuine voice

Enough abstract theory...
what's a conscientious family law professional to do?

The Query Grid
A Process-oriented observational protocol

Access the PP
                        handout here. Please be patient.

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                Consultants LLC
Who we are
About Dr. Garber
Keeping Kids Out Of The Middle
 Keeping families out of court
How do you take care of yourself?

Keeping Kids Out of the Middle

Developmental Psychology For Family Law

Holding Tight/Letting Go

These materials are provided for educational purposes only.
Please do not distribute or allow persons not enrolled in the seminar to access this page.

Resources and citations  in order of appearance
(use CNTRL + F to search this page for keywords)

Access the SELECT CITATIONS (also provided below) in pdf format here: Access the
                  SELECT CITATIONS

Access the draft EMOTIONAL MATURITY WORKSHEET here: Access resources here

Select Citations in order of appearance

Part I:

Developmental psychology meets family law practice


Schore, A. and McIntosh, J. (2011). Family law and the neuroscience of attachment, Part I. Family Court Review, 49: 501–512.

Gould , J. W. Martindale , D. A. (2007). The art and science of child custody evaluations. New York: Wiley.

Pickar, D. B. (2007). On being a child custody evaluator: Professional and personal challenges, risks, and rewards. Family Court Review, 45(1), 103-115.

Harry F. Harlow, “Love in Infant Monkeys,” Scientific American 200 (June 1959):68, 70, 72-73, 74

Luecken, Linda J.; Hagan, Melissa J.; Wolchik, Sharlene A.; Sandler, Irwin N.; Tein, Jenn-Yun (2016). A longitudinal study of the effects of child-reported maternal warmth on cortisol stress response 15 years after parental divorce. Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol 78(2), Feb-Mar 2016, 163-170

Hagan, Melissa J.; Luecken, Linda J.; Modecki, Kathryn L.; Sandler, Irwin N.; & Wolchik, Sharlene A. (2016). Childhood negative emotionality predicts biobehavioral dysregulation fifteen years later. Emotion, 16(6), 877-885

Kaslow, F. W., & Schwartz, L. L. (1987). Frontiers in couples and family therapy. The dynamics of divorce: A life cycle perspective. Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel.

Kandel, R.F. (1994). Just Ask the Kid - Towards a Rule of Children's Choice in Custody Determinations. U. Miami Law Review, 49, 299.

A.C. v. Manitoba (Director of Child and Family Services), 2009 SCC 30

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Prosser in Dane County v. Sheila W., 2013 WI 63 (July 10, 2013)

Hudock, L. (2014).  Deference to Duplicity: Wisconsin's Selective Recognition of the Mature Minor Doctrine . Marquette Law Review. 98, 973.

Yates, Susanne & Pliner, Anita (1988). Judging Maturity in the Courts: The Massachusetts Consent Statute.  American Journal of Public Health, 78(6), 646-649.

Schlam, L., & Wood, J. P. (2000). Informed consent to the medical treatment of minors: Law and practice. Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, 10, 141-174.

Cauffman, E., & Steinberg, L. (2000b). Researching adolescent's decision making relevant to culpability, In T. Grisso & R. Schwartz (Eds.), Youth on Trial, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Grisso et al., (2003). Juveniles’ Competence to Stand Trial: A Comparison of Adolescents’ and Adults’ Capacities as Trial Defendants. Law and Human Behavior,  p. 357

Elisabeth Bach-Van Horn, (2008). Virtual Visitation: Are Webcams Being Used as an Excuse to Allow Relocation?, 21 Journal of American Academy of Matrimonial Law, 171, 172.

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Part II:

Systemic confounds and the voice of the child


The Children’s Act (Great Britain, 1989). http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/41/contents

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1999). http://www.crin.org/Law/instrument.asp?InstID=1015

European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights (2000). http://www.crin.org/Law/Instrument.asp?instID=1043

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/uncrc.asp

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980). http://www.hcch.net/upload/conventions/txt28en.pdf

United States’ Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act (UMDA). http://www.uniformdivorce.com/UMDA.pdf

A.M. Levy, “Many Facets of Child Custody Consultation” as cited in J.S. Leon, “Recent Development in Legal Representation of Children: A Growing Concern With the Concept of Capacity” (1979), 1 Can. J. Fam. L. 375

DiFonzo, J. H. (2014). From the rule of one to shared parenting: Custody presumptions in law and policy. Family Court Review, 52(2), 213-239


Georgia § 19-9-3


“(5) In all custody cases in which the child has reached the age of 14 years, the child shall have the right to select the parent with whom he or she desires to live. The child's selection for purposes of custody shall be presumptive unless the parent so selected is determined not to be in the best interests of the child. The parental selection by a child who has reached the age of 14 may, in and of itself, constitute a material change of condition or circumstance in any action seeking a modification or change in the custody of that child; provided, however, that such selection may only be made once within a period of two years from the date of the previous selection and the best interests of the child standard shall apply.

(6) In all custody cases in which the child has reached the age of 11 but not 14 years, the judge shall consider the desires and educational needs of the child in determining which parent shall have custody. The judge shall have complete discretion in making this determination, and the child's desires shall not be controlling.”

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Tennessee Mature Minor Doctrine. See: https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/health/attachments/Mature_Minor_Doctrine.pdf

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (2013). Child Custody Evaluation Standards. See: http://aaml.org/sites/default/files/MAT201_3.pdf

Association of Family and Concilaition Courts (2006). Custody Evaluation Practice Standards. See: See http://www.afccnet.org/pdfs/Model%20Stds%20Child%20Custody%20Eval%20Sept%202006.pdf

Doyle v. Doyle Hannon, J: 15 (1992), F.L.C. 92-286 at 79, 128

H v. W. (1995), F.L.C. 92-598 (Full Court of the Family Court of Australia) per Baker J. at 81, 967

Haberman v. Haberman Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench Yorkton DIV 03661/07

Stefureak v. Chambers (2004,Ontario S.C.J.)  Quinn J

L.E.G. v. A.G., 2002 British Columbia Supreme Court, 1455

Martinson, J (ret) B.J.G. v. D.L.G. (2010) Yukon, Canada 44

Hannon v. Eisler (1955), 270 Wis. 469, 71 N.W.2d 376

Haugen v. Haugen (1978; 82 WI 2d 411, 417, 262 NW2d 769, 772)

Appelate’s Brief in Dohm v. Dohm 2012 WI Court of Appeals District 4

See: https://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=91486)

Crosby-Currie, Catherine A. (1996). Children's Involvement in Contested Custody Cases: Practices and Experiences of Legal and Mental Health Professionals. Law and Human Behavior, 20(3),p. 291.

Birnbaum, Rachel ; Bala, Nicholas & Cyr, Francine (2011).  Children’s Experiences with Family Justice Professionals and Judges: A Comparative Analysis of Ontario and Ohio. Paper presented to the Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, Ontario, CA.

Butler, I., Scanlon, L., Robinson, M., Douglas, G. & Murch, M. (2002). Children’s involvement in their parents’ divorce: Implications for practice. Children and Society, 16(2), p. 99

Rahabi, S. T. (1999). Retrospective views of children who are given the option to express their custodial preference. Dissertation Abstracts International 60(1-B), 0373

Wolman, R., & Taylor, K. (1991). Psychological effects of custody disputes on children. Behavioral Sciences & the Law,  9, p. 414

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Morag, T., Rivkin, D. & Sorek,Y. (2009). Israeli law and child participation in family courts—A pilot project. For presentation at 47th Annual Conference, Traversing the Trail of Alienation, Rocky Relationships, Mountains of Emotion, Mile High Conflict, Association of Family and Conciliations Courts Conference, Denver, Colorado, June, 2010.

Birnbaum & Bala (2009), “The Child’s Perspective on Legal Representation: Young Adults Report on Their Experiences with Child Lawyers,”  Canadian Journal of Family Law, 25(1), 11- 71.

Birnbaum & Bala (2010) , “Judicial Interviews With Children In Custody And Access Cases: Comparing Experiences In Ontario And Ohio,” International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family.

Garber, B.D. (2008). Keeping Kids Out Of The Middle: Parenting Effectively In The Midst Of Adult Conflict, Separation and Divorce. Health Communications, Incorporated. ISBN 878-0-7573-0711-9

Perkins J., in S.P. v. P.B.D., 2007, Ontario, Canada, Supreme Court

Garber, B.D. (2007). Conceptualizing visitation resistance and refusal in the context of parental conflict, separation and divorce. Family Court Review, (4)1, 588-599.

Garber, B.D. (April, 1996). Alternatives to alienation: Acknowledging the broader scope of children’s emotional difficulties during divorce. The New Hampshire Bar Journal.

Garber, B.D. (2007). Conceptualizing visitation resistance and refusal in the context of  parental conflict, separation and divorce. Family Court Review, (4)1, 588-599.

Drapak v. Drapak, 1986 688, Saskatchewan Queen’s Bench

Jordana v. Corley, 220 N.W.2d 515, North Dakota, 1974

Talwar, V., Hubbard, K., Saykaly, C., Lee, K., Lindsay, R. & Bala, N. (2018). Does parental coaching affect children's false reports? Comparing verbal markers of deception. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Vol 36(1), 84-97.

Burton, Linda (2002). Adultification in Childhood and Adolescence: A Matter of Risk and Resilience.  Children Who Thrive in the Face of Adversity: Navigating the Rocky Road to Well-Being.  University of California, Berkeley.  Retrieved 19 December from http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/research/2002Resilience.pdf

Faber, A. J., Willerton, E., Clymer, S. R., MacDermid, S. M., & Weiss, H. M. (2008). Ambiguous absence, ambiguous presence: A qualitative study of military reserve families in wartime. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 222-230.

Nelson, E. & While, D. (2002). Children’s adjustment during the first year of a parent’s cancer diagnosis. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 20, 15-36.

Mayseless, Ofra & Scharf, Miri (2009). Too close for comfort: Inadequate boundaries with parents and individuation in late adolescent girls. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79(2), 191-202

Cheng, Shu-Chun & Kuo, Li-An (2008).. Marital satisfaction and parent-child triangulation Bulletin of Educational Psychology, 40(2), 220-238

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A.A. v. S.N.A., 2007 British Columbia Supreme Court 594

Burton, Linda (2007). Childhood adultification in economically disadvantaged families: A conceptual model. Family Relations, 56, 329-345.

Stephens, D. L. (1999). Battered women's views of their children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14, 731-746.

Puig, M. E. (2002). The adultification of refugee children: Implications for cross-cultural social work practice. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 5, 85-95.

Walsh, S., Shulman, S., Bar-On, Z., & Tsur, A. (2006). The role of parentification and family climate in adaptation among immigrant adolescents in Israel. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16, 321–350..

Burnett, G., Jones, R. A., Bliwise, N. G., & Ross, L. T. (2006). Family unpredictability, parental alcoholism, and the development of parentification. American Journal of Family Therapy, 34, 181-189

Garber, B.D. (2009). Developmental psychology for family law professionals. New York: Springer.

Jacobvitz, D., Riggs, S., & Johnson, E. (1999). Cross-sex and same-sex family alliances: Immediate and long-term effects on sons and daughters. In N. D. Chase (Ed.), Burdened children: Theory, research, and treatment of parentification  (pp. 34–55). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Peris, T. S., & Emery, R. E. (2005). Redefining the parent-child relationship following divorce: Examining the risk for boundary dissolution. Journal of Emotional Abuse, 5(4), 169-189.

Peris, T.S.; Goeke-Morey, M.C.; Cummings, E.M. & Emery, R.E. (2008). Marital conflict and support seeking by parents in adolescence: Empirical support for the parentification construct. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(4), 633-642.

Wells, M., Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Jones, R. 1999. Codependency: A grass roots construct's relationship to shame-proneness, low self-esteem, and childhood parentification. American Journal of Family Therapy, 27: 63-71.

Boyd-Franklin, N. (1989). Black families in therapy: A multisystems approach. New York: Guilford Press

Oznobishin, Olga and Kurman, Jenny (2009). Parent–child role reversal and psychological adjustment among immigrant youth in Israel. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(3), 405-415.

McMahon, T. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2007). Defining characteristics and potential consequences of caretaking burden among children living in poverty. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77, 267-281.

Grollman, E.A. & Sweder, G. (1986). The working parent dilemma. Boston: Beacon.

Duryea, M. M. (2007). Mothers with chronic physical illness and the parentification of their children. Retrieved 12.21.2009 from https://repository.unm.edu/dspace/bitstream/1928/3608/1/Duryea_Dissertation.pdf

Tompkins, T. L. (2007). Parentification and maternal HIV infection: Beneficial role or pathological burden? Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16, 113-125.

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Wells, M., Glickauf-Hughes, C., & Jones, R. 1999. Codependency: A grass roots construct's relationship to shame-proneness, low self-esteem, and childhood parentification. American Journal of Family Therapy, 27: 63-71.

Fitzgerald, Monica M.; Schneider, Renee A.; Salstrom, Seoka; Zinzow, Heidi M.; Jackson, Joan & Fossel, Rebecca V. (2008). Child sexual abuse, early family risk, and childhood parentification: Pathways to current psychosocial adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 320-324.

Jurkovic, G. (1997). Lost childhood: The plight of the parentified child. New York: Brunner/Mazel, p. xiv

Garber, B.D. (2016). Holding Tight/Letting Go: Raising Healthy Kids in Anxious Times. http://unhookedbooks.com/letting-go-holding-tight/) ISBN 978-1-936268-94-8.

Bogolub, Ellen (1984). Symbiotic mothers and infantilized only children: A subtype of single-parent family. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 1(2), 89-101.

Kinscherff, R., & Ayoub, C. C. (2000). Legal aspects of Munchausen by proxy. In R. M. Reece (ed.), Treatment of child abuse. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Lindahl, Mary W. (2009). Beyond Munchausen by Proxy: A Proposed Conceptualization for Cases of Recurring, Unsubstantiated Sexual Abuse Allegations. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 18(2), 206-220.

Naegele, Thomas & Clark, Alan (2001). Forensics Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: An Emerging Subspecies of Child Sexual Abuse. Forensic Examiner,  10(3/4), 21-23.

Smart, C. (2002). From children’s shoes to children’s voices. Family Court Review, 40, 297-306

Garber, B.D. (2004). Parental Alienation in Light of Attachment Theory: Consideration of the Broader Implications for Child Development, Clinical Practice, and Forensic Process. Journal of Child Custody.

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Part III:

Practical tools to better elicit the child’s genuine voice


Hynan, D. J. (1998). Interviewing children in custody evaluations. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 36, p. 473

Garber, B.D. (2014). The chameleon child: Children as actors in the high conflict divorce drama. Journal of Child Custody, 11, 1-16.

Garber, B.D. (2007). Developing a structured interview tool for children embroiled in family litigation and forensic mental health services: The Query Grid. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 7(1), 1-18.

Garber, B.D. (2016). Exploring a process-oriented forensic family observation protocol. Family Court Review, 54(2), 261-276

Ainsworth , M. Blehar , M. Waters , E. Wall , S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Waters , E. Beauchaine , T. P. (2003). Are there really patterns of attachment? Comment on Fraley and Spieker (2003). Developmental Psychology, 39, 417-422

Garber, B.D. (2015). Cognitive-behavioral methods in high conflict divorce: Systematic desensitization adapted to parent-child reunification interventions. Family Court Review, 53(1), 96-112.

Wolpe, J. (1954). Reciprocal inhibition as the main basis of psychotherapeutic effects. Proceedings of the South African Psychological Association, 5, 14.

Wolpe , J. (1958). Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.)

Cohen, L.J. and Vesper, J.H. (2001). Forensic Stress Disorder. Stress: The International Journal on the biology of Stress, 25(1), 1-25.

Miller, M and Bornstein, B. (Eds.), (2013). Stress, trauma, and wellbeing in the legal system. Oxford Press.

Boyas, J., & Wind, L. H. (2010). Employment-based social capital, job stress, and employee burnout: A public child welfare employee structural model. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(3), 380-388.

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