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What is Involved in a Child Custody Evaluation?
Confidentiality Examinations that have been ordered by the court are not held in confidence. It will be up to you and your attorney to determine whether or not you want to allow the evaluator to speak with teachers, therapists or other professionals that may have treated you or your children.
The decision to provide releases that allow the evaluator to speak with the above-mentioned professionals is an extremely personal and very difficult one. It cannot be approached with too much caution. In the same vein, the question of waiving doctor-patient or therapist-patient privileges is one that you and your attorney must consider very carefully.
Should you decide not to provide the releases, you must consider the possibility that the evaluator’s report could reflect a lack of cooperation or be otherwise adversely affected. On the other hand, providing those releases could possibly reveal information that you would prefer be kept confidential. It will be up to you to determine which course is best for you.
Medical History If there is anything in your medical history that might reflect a disadvantage, it would be wise to discuss it in detail with your family lawyer. It is vital that you be absolutely forthcoming with your attorney and equally vital that you discuss these issues prior to meeting with the evaluator.
Battery of Testing If you are required to take psychological tests, just do the best you can. The best approach to tests such as the MMPI–2, Sentence Completion, the MCMI-II and III and Draw A Person is to use your own good judgment. Attempting to over-think the questions or skew the results in your favor will not be of benefit to you. Your lawyer will recommend that you choose the answers that seem most appropriate to you and simply be completely honest.
Children's Psychological Tests Your attorney will advise you that it is not unusual for children to be subjected to psychological tests as well. These are usually the Bricklin Perceptual Scales and the Perception Of Relationships Test, or PORT. Children younger than four years old are not normally tested and it is unwise to make any attempt to influence the child in any way before the test.
Scheduling Children's Appointments When you set appointments for your children to meet with an evaluator, be sure that the children are at their best. If the child is ill or overly tired, your attorney will recommend that you reschedule the appointment for a time when the child is feeling better.
Help is Available Our family attornies have the expertise and experience to help you through these situations. Contact us at 804-325-1245 (Richmond) or 757-941-4298 (Williamsburg) and find the assistance you need.