J Korean Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.  2020 Apr;31(2):66-73. 10.5765/jkacap.200004.

Custody Evaluation in High-conflict Situations Focused on Domestic Violence and Parental Alienation Syndrome

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


In a divorced family, child-centered custody evaluation is essential to ensure the child’s best interests and healthy adaptation. A mental health professional’s role and involvement are required in gaining an in-depth understanding of various environments and dynamics surrounding the child and family. Domestic violence, including child abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV) or parental alienation syndrome (PAS), is often observed in cases of custody evaluation in high-conflict divorced families, sometimes accompanied by allegations.Such cases warrant an extremely careful approach by the evaluator, who needs to be competent in interpreting the familial dynamics based on a reasonable context understanding. Genuine professionalism is a must for a custody evaluator to best help the child and carry out a high-quality custody evaluation process, and evaluators need to be ready for this task through adequate preparation and empowerment. This article is devoted to examining custody evaluation in divorced families in cases of IPV, child abuse, and PAS.


Child custody; Domestic violence; Child abuse; Intimate partner violence; Parental alienation syndrome
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