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How Can Psych Evaluations Impact Child Custody Cases?

Child custody cases can be challenging to navigate. Many factors can impact custody and the outcome of your case, including psychological factors.

Psychological evaluations are often necessary to determine the ideal custody situation for a child. A child custody attorney can help represent you during your custody matter and provide support throughout the psych evaluation process.

What Is a Psych Evaluation?

A psychological evaluation is a critical tool family courts often use to further assess factors that impact the child’s best interests. Psych evaluations are typically performed on the children, but parents may have to undergo psychological evaluations as well, depending on the circumstances.

A psychologist or evaluator conducts a thorough psych evaluation and provides the family court judge with their findings and professional opinions. The professional assigned to the case aims to assess the child’s psychological and emotional needs.

Psych evaluations are not necessary in every case. Instead, judges determine on a case-by-case basis whether they think a psych eval would be useful and helpful when making custody determinations.

What Happens During a Psychological Evaluation?

During psych evaluations, a psychologist uses multiple techniques to observe the child alone and in several other settings. Some of the many ways child psychologists and evaluators complete their evaluation include:

  • Conducting individual interviews with the children and parents
  • Performing psychological assessments of the child, parents, and other household members
  • Observing the child’s interactions with each parent
  • Conducting home visits
  • Reviewing previous court orders and any allegations of abuse or neglect
  • Speaking with the child’s teachers, doctors, babysitters, and therapists

Psychological evaluations can take some time to complete, depending on the steps the evaluator feels they need to take. The goal is to get as much information as possible to create a comprehensive report for the court.

Once the judge receives the evaluator’s report, they review it completely before making any final determinations. In many cases, judges heavily base their custody decisions on the psych evaluation.

How Do Psych Evaluations Affect Child Custody?

The primary objective of a psychological evaluation is to provide the judge with additional insight into the child’s mental and emotional state. Based on the details the psychologist or evaluator provides, the judge can better determine the most beneficial custody arrangement for the child.

Family court judges aim to do what is best for the child. Judges don’t take custody decisions lightly, as the decisions they make can have a strong impact on the child’s life and future.

A psych evaluation can better assist judges in determining whether both parents are equipped to fulfill the child’s needs. If both parents are not able or willing to properly care for the child, judges can give one parent sole custody if that would be most beneficial.

Getting Guidance for Your Child Custody Case

Child custody matters are difficult to handle, but you don’t have to do it alone. A skilled custody attorney can provide the highest-quality guidance and representation and will fight for the best possible case result.

The legal team at Gucciardo Family Law has years of experience helping parents with custody matters, including navigating psych evaluations. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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