Changes in Family Law and Family Life Challenges for Psychology

Gary B. Melton, Brian L. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1216
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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