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March 25, 2019-How We Define “Best Interests of the Child” is All Important

“Not in the best interests of the child” – This common unsubstantiated allegation represents an emotional argument devoid of logical substance. Since BIOC is undefined, it is equally valid to posit the opposite making this an empty argument.

How we define “best interests of the child” serves to drive our perceptions with respect to the potential deficits of ESP versus the potential benefits. If we define best interests as children remaining with one parent for various reasons including purposes of stability, then the result is that one parent will enjoy the majority of the parenting time and all of the important decision making. Any proposed paradigm that challenges the ‘common knowledge’ about best interests will per force be rejected. Any argument that says that we ought to actually measure best interests in some other fashion (ie. in a scientific fashion) will be rejected as it challenges a status quo that has been, more or less, fairly kind to judges, lawyers and allied professionals. If we define “best interests” more widely then we should turn to scientific observation, discussion and literature. Such an approach leads us to an examination of children’s well-being across a variety of axes. Which makes more sense – relying upon myths and stereotypes or relying upon scientific studies?

Gene C. Colman and George A. Piskor, forthcoming article

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