When someone mentions forensic psychology, criminal profiling may be the first thing that comes to mind. Understanding a serial killer’s motives is unquestionably valuable, but a forensic psychologist or psychiatrist also plays a huge role in protecting the smallest and most vulnerable of our society. One way they do this is by evaluating the participants in child custody cases to determine what’s in the best interest of the children involved. With a skilled forensic specialist on the case, many children can be spared from serious risks that might not be obvious to the average person. If you’re the parent of a child, and you know your former spouse has a cleverly hidden addiction problem or violent tendencies, you may not be able to prove this in court. However, a forensic psychologist might see the signs clearly. Because of his or her high level of training and expertise, the courts will take the evaluation seriously.
How Do Forensic Psychologists Assist in Child Custody Cases?
If you and your former or estranged spouse can’t agree on legal or residential custody, or there has been an accusation or suspicion of abuse, mental illness or other serious problems that could adversely affect your child, a judge may order a forensic custody evaluation. During the process, the evaluator will interview you, your child and the other parent together and separately. Psychologists are specifically trained to detect behavior patterns associated with unhealthy relationships and potentially dangerous situations. Your child’s response to a simple question or a crayon drawing of his or her bedroom may not reveal much to a layperson, but to a forensic specialist, it might reveal elements of the past, present and future.
Detection Means Protection
The following are common problems that forensic psychologists may detect during a court-ordered child custody evaluation.
- Evidence of substance abuse such as alcoholism or drug addiction
- Physical abuse or neglect revealed by behavior patterns or other non-physical cues
- Psychological abuse, bullying or manipulative behaviors
- Irresponsible parenting or a lack of parenting skills or abilities
- Signs of mental illnesses such as clinical depression, schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder
- Identification of learning disabilities, autism, or other special needs in children
Forensics Keeps It Real
A forensic psychologist is required to present all evidence and test results objectively. Your evaluator will be neither for nor against you, but the findings often speak for themselves. A custody evaluation that tilts the odds in your favor isn’t a guarantee that you’ll win your case, but it can certainly be an influential factor. If not for skilled forensic psychologists, many children could end up in dangerous hands.
Your Prime Resource for Forensic Child Custody Evaluation
At Comprehensive Consultation Services, P.C., our qualified professionals have the experience, motivation and skill to ensure accurate results during your clinical child custody evaluation. We can objectively determine psychological health and functionality in children and adults of all ages, so your child’s best interests are protected. Contact us to learn more about our comprehensive custody evaluations and other diagnostic and treatment services. Come check out part two of this series.