Standard Article

Child Custody

  1. James N. Bow

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0166

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Bow, J. N. 2010. Child Custody. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Hawthorn Center, Northville, MI

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


History has witnessed a variety of trends in custody determination. Prior to the 1920s children were considered property of the father, who was almost always awarded custody. The Tender Years Doctrine, advanced in the 1920s, assumed that young children were better off in their mother's care. This resulted in a strong preference for awarding custody to the mother, a preference that continued until 1970 when the focus shifted to the best interests of the child.


  • forensic psychology;
  • expert testimony;
  • child custody