J Korean Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.  2020 Apr;31(2):58-65. 10.5765/jkacap.200006.

Custody Evaluation Process and Report Writing

  • 1W Psychiatric Clinic, Seongnam, Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea
  • 3Raon Psychiatric Clinic, Incheon, Korea


As in western countries, divorce rates in South Korea have recently been rising, and family disruption has become one of serious social problems. Parents are able to express their opinions and wishes confidently, but the thoughts and wishes of children, especially infants and young children, tend to be ignored. Children can also experience several emotional and behavioral problems during the process of and after their parents’ divorce. When South Korean family courts determine custody arrangements, they typically do not have a systematic strategy and process based on custody evaluation to help children and their parents overcome conflicts and build healthy parent-child relationships after divorce. Furthermore, under the current court system, it is difficult for mental health specialists and child psychiatrists to intervene in familial conflicts as mediators or therapists during the course of divorce proceedings. Acknowledging these limitations, the South Korean family court system implemented a formal program for custody evaluations by child psychiatrists and psychologists in 2017. However, they have faced challenges such as a shortage of experienced specialist and lack of a training system or instruments for evaluation. In this paper, the authors aim to share professional knowledge of and experiences with aspects of the custody evaluation process, such as indications, procedures, methods, psychological tests, resources, and final report writing, to better serve children and their parents undergoing a painful divorce process.


Child custody; Forensic psychiatry; Psychological test
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