Of all the issues in family law, custody is the most complex. The court is required to award custody in the best interests of the child. In practice, this can be an exceedingly difficult determination. The court will usually order a forensic examination by a psychologist, and will appoint a lawyer (law guardian) for the child. These additional experts add cost and delay to the resolution of the case. Because custody is such an emotionally charged issue, parties may spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to prove they are the better parent. Lost in this legal battleground is the child, who may be torn or “brainwashed” by one or both parents. While there are times a custody battle is appropriate, many times one party contests custody to punish the other parent. In all, a contested custody claim requires serious consideration before proceeding.