This excellent and wide-ranging monograph is targeted at academics, professionals, and advocates in the area of family law examining the fundamental question of what exactly are the "best interests of the child"(BIC) This innocuous question goes to the heart of the legal reality that BIC is either undefined in law or is defined as an [long] enumerated list of factors with no selection criteria together with the typical "and any other factors that the court may deem appropriate" clause to render any definition indeterminate.
What makes this work novel and even groundbreaking is the use of multivariate statistical techniques applied to Canadian data sets to provide unique insights without letting the statistics get in the way of making the point. Based on authorized special access privileges to the CRDP (Canadian Registry of Divorce Proceedings), the author sets the stage by developing comprehensive descriptive statistics confirming the preponderance for maternal custody orders and goes an additional step by demonstrating that resolving custody issues out of court marginally disadvantages the father more than consensual "shadow of the law" agreements, while mothers stand to gain. For fathers, the marginal improvement in already low rates would not seem to warrant the legal expense of pursuing court action.
The author refrains from making the logical leap of systemic gender bias by the courts. Instead, in what is probably the first analysis of its kind, Dr. Millar attempts to exonerate the courts by posing the intriguing statistical question whether sociological factors or legal grounds may account for demonstrably one-sided custody outcomes.Read more ›
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