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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


BARBOSA GONZALEZ, Alejandro; MARTINEZ, Rosa Elena; PINA, Mariano Alexis  y  SEGURA, Carmen Alicia. Psychosocial risks considered by family judges in decisions on loss of parental authority: An exploratory study. Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2018, vol.35, n.1, pp.189-204. ISSN 1668-7027.

Suspension of custody as a right of the child may lead to psychosocial risks considered as potential dangers to the well-being of the child, his family or his community in various dimensions. It is therefore important to consider the possibility of these psychosocial risks when making these judicial decisions about the loss of parental rights. The phenomenon of psychosocial risk has been more studied in working environments and also linked to health problems. This fact assigns a new connotation to this study, since it opens the door to the interdisciplinarity from Psychology and Law, when investigating if the psychosocial risks in the judicial decisions on loss of parental authority are taken into account. The research aims to identify psychosocial risks considered by family judges in decisions about loss of custody. The type and design research is qualitative, since one of its general pretensions is the understanding. The sources of information are two. The first corresponds to 50 pre-selected court documents in the Colombian cities of Bogota, Tunja and Duitama. The other is a group interview with 8 family judges. The documents were analyzed by means of a protocol. For the design and implementation of the protocol, categories oriented by interdisciplinary research team objectives, theoretical support and expectations were made. The interview consisted of a focus group interview with family judges (four men and four women). The audio of the interview was transcribed literally and an inductive categorical analysis was made. Results of the analysis of the interview and documents were contrasted. Judicial documents reviewed show that judges use syllogistic logic when seeking to accommodate situations to the causal. Within the judicial decisions it is observed that the best interest of the minor is not privileged. The analysis of the interview in which the use of experience and intuition is observed following a realistic logic, invites us to reflect on aspects such as: the subjectivity of udges in the evaluation, the pressure they face on the number of lawsuits and the speed of judgment, and the need to revise the causal deprivation of liberty superior to one year. The judges manifest a deficit in the interdisciplinary work and the lack of more training in aspects of mental health that would make possible the use of psychological reports and the greater understanding of causes such as disability. It was possible to identify a pattern that leads to the decision of loss of custody power by abandonment (most common causal): (1) Search for legal advice. (2) To promote the notoriety of the physical and emotional distance between the defendant and the child. (3) Establish the claim. (4) Accumulate evidential evidence on the causal. (5) Obtain witnesses. In the discussion generated in the group interview, judges recognize psychosocial risks that are not exposed in the court document or sentence. Finally there is the need to assess in more detail the relational history of the parental couple, as they tend to be psychological consequences that affect parenting skills. The discussion between the researchers of Family Psychology and those of Family Law appear questions that build an interdisciplinary bridge. One limitation of the study was that it was not possible to have sufficient time and resources to conduct group and individual interviews with a greater number of family judges in other cities of the country and achieve more generalizable results. The research question on whether judges take into account the risks to make the decisions is answered that it attends to the grounds provided in the law taking the decision guided by the syllogistic logic. Causals can be equated with psychosocial risks.

Palabras clave : Psychosocial risk; Custody; Family courts; Child's best interests.

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