Überprüfung von Sachverständigengutachten für das Familiengericht

Legal and human sci­ence review of expert reports for the fami­ly court


Initi­al situation

Sin­ce the­re are no legal­ly bin­ding qua­li­ty requi­re­ments for experts on the one hand and no legal­ly bin­ding stan­dards for the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of reports on the other hand, the­re is jus­ti­fied doubt as to the relia­bi­li­ty of the experts’ results, which is sup­port­ed by seve­ral stu­dies (see in detail: Klüber, 1998; Salew­ski & Stür­mer , 2014, pp. 27-28; Stür­mer, Salew­ski, Mey­er & Mey­er, 2015, pp. 39-41; Ter­lin­den-Arzt, 1998; West­hoff, Ter­lin­den-Arzt & Klüber, 2000).

The “Act to amend the law on experts and to fur­ther amend the law on the pro­ce­du­re in fami­ly mat­ters and in mat­ters of vol­un­t­a­ry juris­dic­tion as well as to amend the Social Court Act, the Admi­nis­tra­ti­ve Court Code, the Finan­cial Court Code and the Court Fees Act” of Octo­ber 16, 2016 hard­ly chan­ged anything.

So exis­tiert aktu­ell ein selbst­re­fe­ren­zie­ren­des Sys­tem, in dem vie­le Rich­ter auf die Inhal­te der ver­öf­fent­lich­ten Ent­schei­dun­gen, die über­wie­gend auf Sach­ver­stän­di­gen­gut­ach­ten begrün­det sind, für Kon­troll­zwe­cke zurück­greift, um der Indi­vi­du­al­ge­rech­tig­keit „gerecht“ zu wer­den. This cycle of deter­mi­ning the best inte­rests of the child in each indi­vi­du­al case does not ensu­re at any point that the cur­rent and con­sen­sus-based fin­dings of the human sci­en­ces on the child’s wel­fa­re and the cri­te­ria used to ful­fill it are taken into account and incor­po­ra­ted into the decis­i­on-making pro­cess to ensu­re indi­vi­du­al justice.


Review of expert reports in fami­ly law

The stu­dies by Klüber (1998), Salew­ski and Stür­mer (2014, pp. 27-28), Stür­mer, Salew­ski, Mey­er & Mey­er (2015, pp. 39-41), Ter­lin­den-Arzt (1998) were able to show that a lar­ge part of the expert reports in fami­ly law do not meet the requirements.

In the mini­mum requi­re­ments for the qua­li­ty of expert reports in child law, published by the Working Group on Fami­ly Law Reports 2015 (2015, p. 3-4), the­se are­as of exper­ti­se are spe­ci­fied: “If the court’s own exper­ti­se is insuf­fi­ci­ent, experts must be con­sul­ted. For this acti­vi­ty, psy­cho­lo­gi­cal spe­cia­list know­ledge (in par­ti­cu­lar from the are­as of fami­ly psy­cho­lo­gy, deve­lo­p­men­tal psy­cho­lo­gy, edu­ca­tio­nal psy­cho­lo­gy, social psy­cho­lo­gy, com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on psy­cho­lo­gy, cli­ni­cal psy­cho­lo­gy, dia­gno­stics and inter­ven­ti­on) and, depen­ding on the ques­ti­on and case struc­tu­re, spe­cia­list know­ledge of other child and parent-ori­en­ted disci­pli­nes such as child and ado­le­s­cent psych­ia­try and psy­cho­the­ra­py is requi­red.“.

When revie­w­ing expert reports in fami­ly law, we inte­gra­te the afo­re­men­tio­ned know­ledge of human sci­en­ces into the legal decis­i­on-making pro­cess. With the inves­ti­ga­ti­on pre­sen­ted the decis­i­on-maker should be able to regain the legal pro­cess and make ratio­nal decis­i­ons by bet­ter asses­sing the results of expert reports and, if neces­sa­ry, chan­ging them.


  • Has the fami­ly court had an expert opi­ni­on drawn up in order to make a decis­i­on on cus­t­ody and / or hand­ling on the basis of the expert opinion?
  • From your point of view, is the report ina­de­qua­te and did it not help the court to make a decis­i­on geared towards the best inte­rests of the child?
  • In your opi­ni­on, is the expert wrong with his dia­gno­sis and recom­men­da­ti­on or “tech­ni­cal­ly wrong”?
  • In your opi­ni­on, were the inter­re­la­ti­onships “fal­si­fied” pre­sen­ted by the reviewer?

If you ans­wer “yes” to one of the abo­ve ques­ti­ons, then a legal and human sci­en­ti­fic review of such an expert report can be useful.

We are at your side at any time to review an expert opi­ni­on and, if neces­sa­ry, to prepa­re a coun­ter-opi­ni­on, if this is com­man­ded from a legal and human-sci­en­ti­fic point of view.



Klüber, A. (1998). Psy­cho­lo­gi­sche Gut­ach­ten für das Fami­li­en­ge­richt. Eine empi­ri­sche Unter­su­chung über Nach­voll­zieh­bar­keit und Ver­ständ­lich­keit des dia­gnos­ti­schen Pro­zes­ses sowie aus­ge­wähl­te Aspek­te des Kin­des­wohls. Len­ge­rich: Pabst.

Salew­ski, C. & Stür­mer, S. (2014). Qua­li­täts­merk­ma­le in der Fami­li­en­psy­cho­lo­gi­schen Begut­ach­tung. Unter­su­chungs­be­richt. Uni­ver­si­tät Hagen: Eigenverlag.

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

Stür­mer, S., Salew­ski, C., Mey­er, A.-K. & Mey­er, J. (2015). Metho­di­sche Qua­li­tät und Bin­dungs­dia­gnos­tik fami­li­en­rechts­psy­cho­lo­gi­scher Gut­ach­ten. Kin­des­miss­hand­lung und -ver­nach­läs­si­gung, 18, 26-43.

Ter­lin­den-Arzt, P. (1998). Psy­cho­lo­gi­sche Gut­ach­ten für das Fami­li­en­ge­richt. Eine empi­ri­sche Unter­su­chung über dia­gnos­ti­sche Stra­te­gien sowie aus­ge­wähl­te Aspek­te des Kin­des­wohls. Len­ge­rich: Pabst.

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

West­hoff, K., Ter­lin­den-Arzt, P. & Klüber, A. (2000). Ent­schei­dungs­ori­en­tier­te psy­cho­lo­gi­sche Gut­ach­ten für das Fami­li­en­ge­richt. 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


klugekajo@yahoo.de und kluge@euroges.de

Dr. Axel Schmidt

(Diplo­ma in busi­ness admi­nis­tra­ti­on, diplo­ma psychologist)


0171 307 39 48



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