Gutachtenerstellung für das Familiengericht

Crea­ti­on of decis­i­on and deve­lo­p­ment-ori­en­ted reports and dia­gno­stics for the fami­ly court


Are­as – selection

  • Ques­ti­ons about paren­tal care in the event of sepa­ra­ti­on and divorce
  • Regu­la­ti­on of how the child inter­acts with the parents
  • Regu­la­ti­on of how the child inter­acts with other caregivers
  • Ques­ti­ons about child wel­fa­re risk
  • Ques­ti­ons in the event of fail­ure of the par­ents or one of the parents
  • Psy­cho­lo­gi­cal ques­ti­ons to assess the impact of risk and pro­tec­ti­ve con­di­ti­ons on the child


Approach to the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of the expert opinion


Our dia­gno­stic work is decis­i­on-ori­en­ted and development-oriented.

When dia­gno­sing, we ali­gn our­sel­ves with the client’s ques­ti­on in order to prepa­re and sup­port a decis­i­on. Howe­ver, we also see the chan­ces of a solu­ti­on-ori­en­ted (inde­pen­dent of an expli­cit assign­ment accor­ding to § 163 Abs 2 FamFG) and deve­lo­p­ment-ori­en­ted (inter­ven­ti­on-ori­en­ted dia­gno­stics) coun­ce­ling to moti­va­te the par­ents to coope­ra­te and to get invol­ved in a chan­ge pro­cess by con­side­ring the situa­ti­on and the needs of the affec­ted child (uni­fi­ca­ti­on requi­re­ment – § 156 Abs 1 FamFG).

Even with the solu­ti­on-ori­en­ted approach, the speed-up requi­re­ment of § 155 FamFG must be obser­ved in any case in order to crea­te legal pro­tec­tion, to do jus­ti­ce to the child’s sen­se of time and not to crea­te irrever­si­ble facts. That is why we prepa­re expert reports within three months of being com­mis­sio­ned by a court.


Con­tent of the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of the report

Figu­re 1 shows the model of legal decis­i­on-making in cus­t­ody and access law.

Figu­re 1: Model of legal decis­i­on-making in cus­t­ody and access law

On this basis, we exami­ne the legal child wel­fa­re cri­te­ria that affect the par­ents, the legal child wel­fa­re cri­te­ria that affect the child­ren, the basic needs of the child and risk and pro­tec­ti­ve fac­tors of the child, the par­ents and the envi­ron­ment as ele­ments of the human-sci­en­ti­fic child wel­fa­re assess­ment. Figu­re 2 shows the ele­ments of our human-sci­en­ti­fic child wel­fa­re assessment.

Figu­re 2: Ele­ments of the human-sci­en­ti­fic child wel­fa­re assessment

Figu­re 3 con­ta­ins an over­view of the sub­ject are­as that should be eva­lua­ted in the named exami­na­ti­on proceedings.

Figu­re 3: Over­view of sub­ject are­as of the human-sci­en­ti­fic child wel­fa­re assessment

For each sub­ject area, ques­ti­ons can be deri­ved from the results of the human sci­en­ces, which can be used for con­sen­sus, on the basis of which an indi­vi­du­al case can be ana­ly­zed and evaluated.


Struc­tu­re of the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of the report


Front page

Table of contents

Details of the peo­p­le involved

  1. Ques­ti­on (s) of the client
  2. File ana­ly­sis from a psy­cho­lo­gi­cal point of view
  3. Psy­cho­lo­gi­cal ques­ti­ons (hypo­the­ses)
  4. Inves­ti­ga­ti­on methods: Descrip­ti­on of the pro­ce­du­res and jus­ti­fi­ca­ti­on for their use in the pre­sent indi­vi­du­al case
  5. Results
  6. Psy­cho­lo­gi­cal fin­dings: com­bi­na­ti­on and weight­ing of the indi­vi­du­al results. Ans­we­ring the psy­cho­lo­gi­cal ques­ti­ons and thus the ques­ti­ons posed by the cli­ent (dia­gno­stic assessment) 
  7. If requi­red: Sug­ges­ti­ons for pro­blem sol­ving or recom­men­da­ti­ons for fur­ther action; pos­si­ble results of (rudi­men­ta­ry) attempts at pro­blem sol­ving (inter­ven­ti­on)
  8. Date, signa­tu­re (s)
  9. Appen­dix: Biblio­gra­phy, pos­si­bly: tables with sum­ma­ri­zed test results, pos­si­bly: addi­tio­nal reports, pos­si­bly: other documents


Par­ti­al­ly stan­dar­di­zed procedures

Most of the ques­ti­ons can­not be ans­we­red by stan­dar­di­zed psy­cho­lo­gi­cal pro­ce­du­res, but by the par­ti­al­ly stan­dar­di­zed pro­ce­du­res, espe­ci­al­ly the dia­gno­stic inter­views and beha­vi­oral observation.

Dia­gno­stic decis­i­on-ori­en­ted discussions:

We pur­sue the approach of decis­i­on-ori­en­ted con­ver­sa­ti­on, in which the pro­ces­sing of a dia­gno­stic ques­ti­on is plan­ned, car­ri­ed out and eva­lua­ted accor­ding to the cri­te­ria of psy­cho­lo­gi­cal sci­ence. The goal of decis­i­on-ori­en­ted dis­cus­sions is to coll­ect the infor­ma­ti­on that is useful for making satis­fac­to­ry decis­i­ons as com­ple­te­ly and undis­tor­ted as pos­si­ble. This means that all the neces­sa­ry indi­vi­du­al con­side­ra­ti­ons flow into a detail­ed gui­de for the court. The gui­de­lines for decis­i­on-ori­en­ted dis­cus­sions are geared towards the ques­ti­on and the psy­cho­lo­gi­cal ques­ti­ons deri­ved from it, based on secu­red requi­re­ments, geared towards the rela­ti­onship bet­ween cos­ts and bene­fits and desi­gned to be practicable.

Beha­vi­oral observation:

For many ques­ti­ons it is abso­lut­e­ly neces­sa­ry to obser­ve the test per­sons in their natu­ral envi­ron­ment. We also plan obser­va­tions in the natu­ral envi­ron­ment as far as pos­si­ble accor­ding to the cri­te­ria Who? (Type of obser­ver) What? (Con­tent of the obser­va­ti­on), when? (Peri­od of obser­va­ti­on) How? (Type of obser­va­ti­on). As a rule, the focus of the beha­vi­oral obser­va­ti­on is on the inter­ac­tion obser­va­ti­on of the fami­ly mem­bers with one another.


Stan­dar­di­zed dia­gno­stic procedures

The stan­dar­di­zed pro­ce­du­res include tests, ques­ti­on­n­aires and stan­dar­di­zed beha­vi­oral obser­va­ti­on. Test pro­ce­du­res form the bridge to get into con­ver­sa­ti­on and infor­ma­ti­on rele­vant to decis­i­on-making. In the con­text of method tri­an­gu­la­ti­on, the data obtai­ned in this way can pro­vi­de sup­port in clas­si­fy­ing infor­ma­ti­on, but they never replace a con­ver­sa­ti­on. They are used with the grea­test pos­si­ble thrift; in par­ti­cu­lar, they are only used when other, inter­ac­tion-ori­en­ted methods are not sui­ta­ble for coll­ec­ting the desi­red infor­ma­ti­on, which may only ser­ve the psy­cho­lo­gi­cal ques­ti­ons to be ans­we­red. If test pro­ce­du­res are used, their signi­fi­can­ce for the expert opi­ni­on and the type of infor­ma­ti­on coll­ec­ted are explai­ned to the “test per­son” before­hand in order to ensu­re accep­tance of the expert’s approach.


Gui­de­lines for pre­pa­ring psy­cho­lo­gi­cal reports

Reports pre­pared accor­ding to our pro­po­sals cor­re­spond to the “Gui­de­lines for the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of psy­cho­lo­gi­cal reports” of the Fede­ra­ti­on of Ger­man Psy­cho­lo­gi­cal Asso­cia­ti­ons (1994) as well as the “Gui­de­lines for the Assess­ment Pro­cess” of the Euro­pean Asso­cia­ti­on of Psy­cho­lo­gi­cal Assess­ment (EAPA), which have been published in Ger­man as “Richt­li­ni­en für den dia­gnos­ti­schen Pro­zess”. We deve­lop our own reports using the pro­ce­du­re of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Karl West­hoff and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Marie-Lui­se Kluck (West­hoff, K. & Kluck, M.-L., 2014, Psy­cho­lo­gi­sche Gut­ach­ten schrei­ben und beur­tei­len, 6. voll­stän­dig über­ar­bei­te­te und erwei­ter­te Auf­la­ge, Ber­lin: Springer).



Schmidt, A. & West­hoff, K. (2020). Kin­des­wohl inter­dis­zi­pli­när: Empi­ri­sche Ergeb­nis­se für die juris­ti­sche Pra­xis bei Tren­nung der Eltern. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

West­hoff, K. & Kluck, M.-L. (2014). Psy­cho­lo­gi­sche Gut­ach­ten schrei­ben und beur­tei­len (6. voll­stän­dig über­ar­bei­te­te und erwei­ter­te Auf­la­ge). Ber­lin: Springer.



Univ.-Prof. Dr. Karl-Josef Kluge

(Uni­ver­si­ty of Colo­gne, Facul­ty of Human Sci­en­ces, Depart­ment for Cura­ti­ve Edu­ca­ti­on and Reha­bi­li­ta­ti­on, Sub­ject: Edu­ca­tio­nal Aid and Social-Emo­tio­nal Promotion)


02162 24606

E-Mail: und

Dr. Axel Schmidt

(Diplo­ma in busi­ness admi­nis­tra­ti­on, diplo­ma psychologist)


0171 307 39 48


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