With an increased emphasis on the impact of custody decisions on children by specialized professionals, the rise of family courts, the use of custody evaluations, and factors such as family violence that must be considered in applying the “best interests” standards, judges now need specialized education and access to information to make sound custody decisions. Courts have attempted to ease the pain of custody battles for families by providing mediation, parental education, and other services to parents and their children, with the hope that an increased access to information will benefit all parties involved.
Links to related online resources are listed below. Non-digitized publications may be borrowed from the NCSC Library; call numbers are provided.
This report presents a well-rounded examination of litigation in family court cases including divorce, separation, and cases allocating parental responsibility. The report contains three separate levels of analysis: case-level, court procedures and operations, and community characteristics.
(2012) Child Welfare Information Gateway State Statutes Report comparing the various state statutory requirements for a court's determination of the "best interests of the child" when deciding custody and other child welfare decisions.
Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts (1997). The handbook addresses the issues that arise in cases or claims involving the custody or visitation of children whose parents may be divorced or divorcing, separated or separating, or filing a petition for an order of protection from abuse.
Presentation from the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the National Court Technology Conference that provides an overview of the Office of Child Support Enforcement's role and initiatives for CA, NY, GA, NJ and CO.
This seminal work provides divorce caseload data, describes jurisdictional and procedural difference in divorce case processing, and analyzes the effects of caseload size, case characteristics, and case management procedures on divorce case processing times.
Examining the Work of State Courts: An Analysis of 2007 State Court Caseloads. Court Statistics Project. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State CourtsSee document page 15 for the divorce caseload trend for 1996-2005.