Honesty is Best: Who Gets the Kids in Child Custody Cases

Ken Lewis, author of Child Custody Evaluations: Understanding the Five Stages of Custody (NASW Press) is quoted in a recent article on the Michael Jackson Custody Case on www.lifescript.com.

From: Michael Jackson Custody Case: Who Gets the Kids?
By Fran Golden, Special to Lifescript |July 15, 2009
Honesty Is Best

Social workers are often appointed by family court judges to do custody evaluations, especially in the case of a difficult divorce or death of a sole parent. In some custody cases, the court may ask kids who they prefer to live with.

It’s a tough decision to choose between Mom and Dad, but honesty is the best policy, says Ken Lewis, author of Child Custody Evaluations: Understanding the Five Stages of Custody, (National Association of Social Workers).

Kids should be assured by their parents that the evaluator is a friend, not a foe, Lewis says.

Some parents or guardians try to cheat the system, he adds, by telling their kids what to say. That can do more emotional harm than good.

Therapist Kendrick agrees.

“Now you have people saying, ‘Come with me,’ and children don’t ever want to be put in that position,” he says, “because they can’t win.”

Whoever tries for custody in a divorce or in the Jackson case – the grandparents, biological mother or the nanny credited with raising the children – the job of an evaluator is to listen to the kids and be the impartial ears and eyes of a judge.

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