Decision Making in a Custody Case

A custody case is filled with opportunities for making decisions. At every stage with every player the decision making process is important. Judges have to make decisions on who wins custody. Parents have to make decisions on whether to fight or settle or give up. Experts have to make decisions on what recommendations to make. Attorneys must make decisions associated with each strategic step of the case. Throughout the entire process decisions form the basis of the conflict. That is why we have to take the time to analyze the decision making process to see where we can manipulate, control or impact on the final decision.

Decision-making is regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities. Every decision-making process produces a final choice, which may or may not prompt action. Decision-making is the process of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values, preferences and beliefs of the decision-maker. To better understand the decision making process it’s important to realize that no decision maker is free from bias. We all hold our own experiences and belief systems so that all decisions are impacted by those biases. That it is why when making decisions one must be aware of this inevitable bias aspect of all decisions and take steps to minimize those biases through appropriately applied heuristic techniques.

A heuristic technique often called simply a heuristic, is any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals. Where finding an optimal solution is impossible or impractical, heuristic methods can be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. Heuristics can be mental shortcuts that ease the cognitive load of making a decision. Examples of this method include using a rule of thumb, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, guesstimate, stereotyping, profiling, or common sense. This is why our custody experts evaluate not only the legal aspects of a case but the heuristics that we can employ to help decision makers in the decision making process.

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