Psychological Evaluations in Child Custody Disputes
In some divorce or child custody proceedings, the court may order a psychological evaluation of the children and/or parents. This can be a very frightening prospect for families beginning the divorce process. The purpose of these examinations is to determine what is in the best interest of the child. The evaluator will assess the parent-child relationship, and the emotional and physical health and safety of the child, to try and determine what kind of custody arrangement would be best for the child. The evaluator will make a recommendation to the judge regarding his or her findings.
Will The Court Order a Psychological Evaluation in my case?
Psychological evaluations are not ordered as a matter-of-course in most divorce or child custody proceedings. Psychological evaluations are expensive, time consuming, and can be confusing or upsetting to children. Therefore, these evaluations are usually only ordered when the judge feels it is absolutely necessary to do so. For example, they might be ordered in very contentious cases where one or both parents is seeking to be named Sole Managing Conservator of the child, or where there are allegations of abuse or drug use by one of the parents.
Avoiding a psychological evaluation is one reason to consider very carefully your actions during a child custody battle. Your focus as a parent should always be the best interest of your child. Entering into a messy legal battle when not absolutely necessary could cause undue damage to your child’s emotional well-being. There are plenty of good reasons to go to court, and plenty of good reasons why the court might order a psychological evaluation of one or both parents. However, nothing you do should be to punish, hurt or get back at your ex-spouse.
What Are Some Things That a Psychological Evaluator Might Look At?
Some aspects to a psychological evaluation might include:
- A written survey regarding your marriage and parenting history
- Psychological examinations, for children and adults
- Interviews with both parents and/or the children
- Interviews with third parties, including teachers or neighbors
- Monitored parent-child play
- Collecting collateral materials, such as legal documents or medical records
These are just some of the tools the evaluator might use in making his or her recommendation to the judge. Remember, everything the evaluator does will be to determine what is in the best interests of the child.
Wilhite & Lea, P.C. | Houston Family Lawyers
You should not have to face the prospect of a psychological examination alone. For an experienced family lawyer in Houston, familiar with handling contentious divorce cases, contact Wilhite & Lea. We can help you determine whether a psychological evaluation might be necessary in your case, and help you prepare for it. They can also help you explore less contentious options for settling your child custody dispute. If you are in Houston or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Washington County, Grimes County, Fort Bend County and Waller County and are facing a child custody battle, contact Wilhite & Lea today for an evaluation of your case.