Child Custody & Visitation Blog

Will a Psychological Evaluation be Ordered in Your Custody Proceeding?

In child custody proceedings, the Court will decide what custodial arrangement is in the best interests of the child. The health, welfare and safety of the child are, of course, always of paramount importance. This infographic  provides details on what is involved in a psychological evaluation which may be part of your custody proceeding.

Will a Psychological Evaluation be Ordered in Your Custody Proceeding? Infographic
Title: WILL A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION BE ORDERED IN YOUR CUSTODY PROCEEDING?
O&A L.I.F.E. GROUP BLOG
WHAT IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION?
During a contested custody matter in Supreme Court or Family Court, the parents can agree to, or the Court can order, a psychological evaluation of the parents and child/children. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘forensic evaluation.’ The goal is to assist the Court in making a determination as to what custodial arrangement(s) are in each child’s best interests.
WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL?
The examining psychologist usually meets with each parent individually, with the parents together, with the children and with each parent and the children. The examiner will inquire about family history, each parent’s concerns about the other parent, concerns the children may have, current and historical information regarding psychological and physical health of each parent and child, each family member’s history with alcohol or substance abuse, and, if a child is of sufficient age and maturity, his/her preferences.
WHO ELSE IS INVOLVED?
The examiner may interview ‘collateral sources’ or other individuals who have pertinent information. These may include the child’s grandparents, teachers, physicians, counselors daycare providers or coaches. The examiner may also interview the significant other(s) of each parent, particularly if the person lives in a parent’s household.
NEXT STEPS
The examiner issues a report of his/her observations and conclusions to the judge assigned to your proceeding. Copies of the report may be provided to attorneys for each party. Usually each party has the right to read the report but is prohibited from having a copy, to prevent any misuse of it. The psychological evaluation can be a valuable tool for the Court in rendering custodial determination but the psychologist does not have the authority to make decisions nor to impose his/her findings upon the Court or the parents.
IF AN EVALUATION IS ORDERED, YOU WILL BE INSTRUCTED BY YOUR ATTORNEY AS TO THE STEPS AND PROPER WAY TO CONDUCT YOURSELF INCLUDING PROVIDING COMPLETE COOPERATION AND HONESTY.

 

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