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The Best Interests of Children: An Evidence-Based Approach [Paperback]

Paul Millar
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Dec 5 2009

The best interest of the child is an overriding principle in all matters of family law, especially in child custody cases. The Best Interests of Children links social theory with survey data to establish much-needed parameters for determining a child's best interest.

In analyzing the determinants of family law and child development, Paul Millar utilizes information from the Centre for Justice Statistics as well as data from national surveys. Millar's findings show that while the gender of caregivers is unimportant, family dynamics and parenting strategies are paramount: what matters is what parents do. His theoretical framework stresses the importance of relationships and posits that developmental problems related to divorce stem from lost adult-child bonds.

This book provides important criteria for determining the best interest of the child and concludes that the role of law in the lives of children must be to preserve their connections with those that love them.

Frequently Bought Together

The Best Interests of Children: An Evidence-Based Approach + Tug of War: A Judge's Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles, and the Bitter Realities of Family Court + The Equal Parent Presumption: Social Justice in the Legal Determination of Parenting after Divorce
Price For All Three: CDN$ 49.52

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About the Author

Paul Millar is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Community Health Sciences at Brock University.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George Piskor Feb. 12 2010
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.
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