A court may order a child custody evaluation to determine what is in the child's best interest. This is a very comprehensive evaluation entailing the assessment of both parents and the child. There are many hours of forensic interviews, psychological testing, home visits, parent-child observations, document reviews, and input from other professionals as well as friends, neighbors, and relatives. The child custody evaluator will make recommendations as to physical custody (parenting time), decision-making, and any other issues that are related to the best interest of the child. An assessment is also conducted to evaluate the quality of the parent-child relationship, how parents view their child, how the parents respond to their child's needs, and the ability of the parent to promote the child's development.
A court may order a parent fitness evaluation to determine the fitness for parenting of one or both parents. This is a very comprehensive evaluation entailing the assessment of both parents and the child. There are many hours of forensic interviews, psychological testing, home visits, parent-child observations, document reviews, and input from other professionals as well as friends, neighbors, and relatives. The parent fitness evaluator will make findings and recommendations as to parental fitness of one or both parents and any remediation or treatment that is needed.
Psychological and substance use disorder evaluations involve the assessment of the mental status of an individual and whether they have a mental illness, including a substance use disorder. In addition to a diagnosis, recommendations are made as to the appropriate treatment needed to deal with the mental disorder.
Co-parenting counseling is a form of counseling that assists divorced parents in having difficult discussions and coming up with decisions that are in the child's best interest. This type of counseling is very specialized and assists parents by facilitating open communication and shared decision-making.
Parent coordination is a specialized type of co-parenting counseling that often empowers the counselor with arbitration authority. Parent coordination is not confidential and the parent coordinator can testify about what goes on in the meetings in future litigation. The court order for parent coordination specifies the role and authority of the parent coordinator.
The development of a parenting plan is a required part of the final divorce settlement agreement. The parenting plan specifies everything from legal and physical custody to parenting time and final decision-making authority. Holidays and summer schedules are included as well as various other required provisions that are in the child's best interest. Parenting plan development works with divorcing parents on crafting a custom-fit parenting plan that incorporates the needs of the specific family. The meetings are generally done with both parents present. The psychologist works as a consultant to guide, educate, and mediate to come up with a plan fit for the specific needs of the family.
Collaborative divorce is a divorcing process that does not involve litigation. The divorcing parents work with a team of two attorneys, one neutral financial expert, two divorce coaches, and a child specialist. In a healthy, non-adversary manner, the team works to resolve all financial and parenting plan issues.
During litigation and in preparation for trial, an expert is often retained to offer educational testimony to the court on issues related to the conflicts present in the particular case. Generally, the expert is retained by an attorney for one of the parties.
During litigation, an attorney may need to consult a psychologist to assist in understanding the issues present in the case. We provide that specialized service to attorneys in family law cases.
We provide professional education on issues involved in family law cases to attorneys, psychologists, and other mental health providers in the United States and Internationally.