A child custody and parenting evaluation is an assessment of comparative custodial fitness and a formulation of expert opinion pertaining to placement of a child(ren) in divorce and separation, decision making, service needs, and dispute resolution (AFCC Model Standards). Such an evaluation involves an assessment of the child(ren)’s entire family system in order to make helpful and relevant recommendations. These examinations are governed by state law and local rules, depending on the question before the court. They can include questions such as parenting time, decision making, modification of an existing parenting plan, relocation, and third-party parenting time and custody.
Psychological and parenting evaluations may be requested for a variety of reasons, including domestic or child abuse, abandonment, chronic substance abuse, major mental illness, and others. Psychologists are often asked to evaluate a parent to determine risk factors to adequately parenting a child, prognosis for safely parenting a child, treatment needs, bond and attachment, recommendations for parent-child contact, and other issues. In each case, the best interest of the child is paramount.
An issue focused evaluation is designed to provide information on one or two issues bearing upon the custody of, parenting of, and access to the child(ren). This type of evaluation is appropriate where there is no need for a full bilateral custody or parenting time evaluation, but where information on one or two issues could help the court, the parents, or the parents’ attorneys reach a decision on parenting, access, and custody. This can include assessment of high conflict, substance abuse, psychological functioning of a party, sexual deviance, violence risk, allegations of sexual or physical abuse of a child, alienation, estrangement, or resistance and refusal dynamics, and child developmental needs.
Attorneys can request expert testimony on the research and other professional literature regarding issues central to a case. This can include research on issues pertaining to child custody (e.g., domestic violence, parental alienation, relocation, high conflict parents, relocation and the implications for parental responsibility, parenting time, and child development), sexual deviance, and other areas relevant to the issue before the court.
More often psychologists are being called upon to provide a critique of work performed by other experts who have provided their expert opinion on a matter. When there is concern about possible bias, methodological problems, establishing an adequate research foundation for recommendations, and drawing logical conclusions from findings a request for a review of the evaluation can be requested. This process starts with a review of the expert’s report and feedback to the retaining attorney on the strengths and weaknesses of the evaluation report. If there is indication of sufficient concern then a full review of the experts file can be done, and possibly a written report provided to the retaining attorney outlining deficiencies. The retaining attorney may also request expert testimony as a Reviewer and Rebuttal Expert.
Juvenile evaluations are often requested by attorneys, juvenile court counselors, and probation officers. Youth are evaluated for many reasons, including violence risk, treatment needs, competency to stand trial, diminished capacity, sexual risk, placement recommendations, and others. This information can be used for treatment planning and placement.
Psychologists are often called upon to conduct specialized evaluations of adult and juvenile sex offenders to help determine level of risk of recidivism, amenability to treatment, outline factors relevant for future risk of offending, make recommendations for level and type of treatment needed to address risk, and consult on risk management. To conduct such evaluations requires specialized training and experience.
Dr. Mitch Harris (SLC office (801) 850-9559) and Dr. Jeff Lee (Vancouver (360) 910-1522 & Oregon City offices (503) 454-6834) are now accepting psychosexual evaluations.
We provide evidence-based personal injury evaluations for personal injury. We often get involved in cases where there are allegations of medical malpractice, automobile accident injuries, workplace harassment, sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect of a child, and domestic violence, to name a few; and where there is the question of if and how these have adversely affected an individual’s mental health functioning, interpersonal relationships, vocational capacity, and overall quality of life. In this capacity, our providers work closely with each client, their legal counsel, and medical team to determine the following:
Dr. Tutty and Dr. Poppleton currently provide these services at the Portland, Vancouver, Seattle, and Park City offices.