Bias and Inaccurate Parenting Evaluations: 3 Tips From An Expert

    After receiving the results of a parenting evaluation, which likely includes recommendations for timesharing and decision making responsibilities, many parents are left feeling speechless and shocked by the clear signs of biases found throughout the final report. This is because, the reality is, that the results of a Social Investigation (previously referred to as a “child custody evaluation”), often hold a tremendous amount of weight in the courtroom. This fact is especially true if the outcome of the report is not properly challenged by the less favored parent and their attorney. There are many warning signs that should alert unfavored …

    Child Custody Evaluators Are Sometimes Wrong; Work Product Reviews and Rebuttal Witness Testimony Can Help

      Several weeks ago, a guy in a pickup truck came flying down the dirt road that leads to my house and as he reached the soft bend in the road, he lost control of his car and plowed directly through my fence. Without slowing down at all, he sped through our front yard and came way too close to hitting my husband and our two precious little boys, who were all playing together outside. It didn’t end with that though, surprisingly, the man decided that he wasn’t going to stop and take responsibility for what he had done. Instead, he …

      Gender Equality in Child Custody Evaluations, Does it Exist?

        As a father involved in a child custody dispute, you may feel nervous when thinking about the possibility that some child custody evaluators and judges could hold antiquated and inaccurate belief that men are less capable of providing nurturance than the mother, or that your bond is somehow less important than the child and mother’s. History Before the eighteenth century, a father who divorced his spouse had property rights to not only any marital asset, but his children as well. During the 19th century, thing flipped when the Tender Years Doctrine came out. In this doctrine, a mother would get …

        Court-ordered Therapy: Five things to look for when choosing a clinician in Florida

          Court-ordered therapy is meant to be a catalyst for change, for an individual or family who, is at any time, involved in the legal system and subsequently ordered by a judge or magistrate to participate in therapy with a mental health provider. Throughout the 15th Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, court-ordered therapy is used to persuade litigants to get the help they need, when they are unable or unwilling to seek it out on their own. If a judge has ordered that you or a loved one must participate in individual therapy sessions, special consideration should be made to …

          Your Children Deserve an Unbiased, Quality Social Investigation. Here’s What to Look For Before Agreeing to Your Family’s Custody Evaluator

            When going through a divorce, if it has become abundantly clear that you and your ex are not able to come to an agreement regarding post-divorce parenting plans, families can ask the Court to order a child custody evaluation, also referred to as a social investigation, to occur, in order to help the Judge make an informed final decision. Because these evaluations can literally change the outcome of a case, careful consideration must be made prior to agreeing to a forensic psychologist.  Once the order has been signed by the judge, the evaluator cannot be replaced and you are stuck with them, despite concerns that may arise as the investigation is taking place. At our …

            Parental Alienation & High Conflict Divorce

              Parental Alienation & High Conflict Divorce:  Without question, the break up of a marriage creates an overwhelming amount of stress, even during ideal circumstances. When you add kids in to the mix, the new source of concern typically (and appropriately) shifts away from the parent’s own feelings and instead becomes centered around making sure that the children are “okay”, without any long term emotional damage. Unfortunately, divorcing parents don’t always have the luxury of dealing with the “ideal” former spouse, and some are so misguided or irrational that effective communication is nearly impossible . When attempting to co-parent, some parents …

              Psychological Tip #1 for Attorneys: Timing is everything in court

                Although Judges are trained to be neutral parties in the courtroom and one would assume they are in complete control of their decision-making process, studies have shown that there are several factors (which attorneys can often subtly manipulate) in order to help tip the scales during difficult trials. A large research study in Ireland analyzed the results of 1,112 parole board hearings, as they relate to the time of day in which they occurred. The results were astonishing:  Researchers clearly identified a pattern in which the judges were substantially more likely to rule in favor of the defendants whose cases were heard …

                Your options after receiving a “bad” child custody evaluation: Advice from a forensic psychologist

                  The child custody evaluation process should involve a rather systematic method of gathering information, formulating a hypothesis, and rendering opinions pertaining to the best interests of the children involved. Unfortunately, not all psychologists or mental health professionals are properly trained or even qualified to conduct these evaluations, yet they continue to perform them and have the potential to cause more damage than good.   If you believe that the results of your family’s social investigation were unfair, biased, or poorly executed, you may want to consider hiring a second forensic psychologist to complete a “work product review“. The role of this second “rebuttal” psychologist is to take a fine tooth …

                  Therapeutic Supervised Visitation in Palm Beach County

                    If you are a mental health provider, case worker, parent, or attorney with questions regarding our Therapeutic Supervised Visitation Program, please feel free to contact us:                                                                                                561-429-2140 What are Therapeutic Supervised Visitations? Supervised Visitations are typically court-ordered and allow non-custodial parents or guardians to meet with their children in a safe and controlled environment, …

                    Capacity Assessments for Older Adults Making Changes to their Last Will and Testament

                      Recently, more and more attorneys and well advised families have approached our office seeking Testamentary Capacity Evaluations on elderly individuals who have decided to make changes to their Last Will and Testament. These evaluations are particularly helpful when dealing with high asset estates and conflictual families. They serve to preserve the testator’s wishes regarding the distribution of their estate, and avoid future claims of undue influence that could potentially invalidate a will. In these situations, there is no room for error; the forensic psychologist must know what they are doing, have a reputation for honesty and unbiased opinions, and have the ability to present information effectively on the witness stand. Dr. Kristin Tolbert, a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist in Palm Beach …

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