Friday, April 2, 2010

What Divorce Law is Doing to Marriage Part 24

More from the words of Jed Abraham

Then it will be your side’s turn to call witnesses. Your lawyer will call Dr. Young to the stand and introduce Dr. Young to the stand and introduce Dr Young’s report into evidence. He will ask Dr. Young to state his conclusions and his reasons for them.

Dr. Young will tell the court that, in his considered opinion, you are much better attuned to your children’s needs and you have a much better understanding of their development dynamics than your wife. When the children are alone with you, they show naturalness, warmth, affection and respect. When they are alone with your wife, they show obedience and a lack of spontaneity. When they are with you and your wife together, they pointedly do not show you affection, a sure sign they understand that your wife would disapprove if they did. In their projective tests-the family pictures they drew and interpreted-your wife looms as the largest figure, but you are positioned closer to them than she is.

Your wife tends to value her own needs ahead of others’. You have a hard time refusing other people’s demands, almost to a fault, but you exhibit a better balance of a parental decision making capabilities than your wife.

Ideally the children should continue to benefit from the good points of both their parents in some kind of shared custody arrangement, preferably a near even split of time: every Wednesday and Thursday and every other weekend with you, the rest of the time with your wife. Of course, you would also share the children’s holiday and vacation time. If shared custody were not an option, then the children would thrive better in your custody than hers.

There isn’t a shred of credible evidence that you abused your children. They don’t present the symptoms of abused children: they are neither fearful nor over attached in your presence: they show no precocious sexual knowledge; they have no apparent sense of shame or guilt. They repeat their charges mechanically and seem to be goaded by all the attention they are getting. However, they are under a lot of stress due to the divorce, especially because they are confused about the abuse allegation and the inadequate contact they have with their father. They also feel disoriented and conflicted about having a father-figure in the house who is not their real father, a father-figure whom they know is living with their mother as if he were their father.

On cross-examination, your wife’s lawyer will get Dr. Young to admit that the psychological tests he administered cannot ferret out who is the better parent. Most of the tests, especially the projective tests, are relatively unreliable because they can yield different results at different times. The stress of a divorce can skew how a person taking them will score. Also psychological tests often do not validly predict how people will turn out in the future. And they cannot safely rule out that you abused children.

Your wife’s lawyer will also get Dr. Young to admit that he does not concentrate his practice in the area of sex abuse. Although he believes his knowledge and experience qualify him as an expert, he does not consider himself to be a specialist in child abuse, as Dr. Karl does.

More on “Your Custody Hearing” on the next summary.