Om Custody of Children
Separation and divorce have become an inevitable factor in American society. Even those of us who have not experienced these events di- rectly have been touched by them through association with parents, friends, neighbors, or co-workers. Frequently, we have observed these individuals express a variety of negative emotions, including insecurity, anxiety, depression, fear, and anger. If children are involved, their par- ents' decisions and often dysfunctional maneuvers in this matter will most likely have a profound affect on them. One such decision will be with whom they will live. Although the great majority of children will live with their mothers following a divorce, this arrangement is no longer accepted as inevitable. Changes such as an ever-increasing num- ber of mothers with full-time out of home employment and research supporting the significance and competence of fathers in child rearing have led many observers to challenge the assumption of maternal supe- riority. These changes, as well as those related to the law and child cus- tody, for example the increased acceptability of a joint custody arrange- ment, have complicated the process of deciding where a child should live after his or her parents' divorce. Consequently, others are fre- quently called upon to assist in the decision making and render an opin- ion concerning custody and visitation. By and large these individuals will be members of the mental health profession.