The final determination of child custody is often based on what the court believes is in the best interest of the child. Unfortunately, when two parents are fighting for custody and the child is unwilling or unable to express a preference the court may utilize the aid of a child psychologist when making its final determination. Psychological evaluations that involve your child are always difficult to endure, and when custody is involved, they become even more stressful. Being prepared to receive child custody psychological evaluation results can make the news you receive easier to absorb and reduce your chances of having an extreme or problematic reaction to the news.
Remember Evaluator’s Neutrality
The psychologist who performs the evaluation on your child is working on behalf of the court system and ultimately has your child’s best interests at heart. He or she is neutral in the custody dispute between yourself and your spouse, having no favoritism or animosity for either party. Do not expect your child’s evaluator to provide you with any type of information that would infringe on the privacy of the other parent or place the child in a compromising situation. The evaluator will give you and the court his or her findings in an impartial matter based on the time spent with your child.
Understand the Role of Education
Educational behavior and performance are often indicators of problems occurring within the household that involve te child. Prior to the evaluation, the psychologist may request records from the school or may contact school officials (with your permission) at some point during the evaluation process. If the evaluator mentions contacting the school, do not respond with hostility even if you feel that your privacy and that of your child was violated. Keep in mind that most minor children spend more time at school or studying than they do with their parents. Since the time spent with a child decreases after parents separate, often an evaluator gains valuable insight to the child’s patterns, behavior, and the effects of the custody situation from educators.
Expect Negative Feedback
No matter how close you are with your child and how firmly you feel the other parent is in the wrong, be prepared to receive some form of negative or critical feedback from the child psychologist. Remember, he or she is a neutral party who is looking out for the best interests of your child, and if the evaluator feels that something is not good for the child, he or she is obligated to report those findings accurately. In a custody battle, one parent is going to receive an outcome or decision that he or she is not happy with, meaning you or your former partner have an equal chance of receiving feedback that is unfavorable. Do your best to remain calm and avoid arguing with the evaluator or otherwise fighting the process.
Talk to an Attorney Before the Evaluation
Before consenting to evaluations or anything else you are uncomfortable with, always seek the advice of a child custody and visitation attorney. An attorney who is solely responsible for guarding your rights as a parent can advise of the necessity of the evaluation or speak against it if it is not something upon which the court is insisting. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are dedicated to protecting and preserving the parental rights of our clients. Contact one of our Atlanta area locations today to schedule a consultation so that we can begin working on your behalf.