In the past two decades, striking changes in family demographics have been accompanied by equally dramatic shifts in family law. The development of constitutional principles to guide state involvement in the lives of children and families has raised questions about the competence of minors and the sensitivity of parents to children's interests. At the same time, legal realism finally has emerged as an approach to the construction of new standards for resolution of family disputes and new definitions of the family itself. These changes in family law present new challenges to psychology to generate and diffuse the knowledge necessary for careful policy-making. Care must be taken, though, to ensure that legitimate limits of role and expertise are acknowledged and respected.
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