Divorcing couples in Florida who have children understand that one of the most difficult aspects of the divorce process is working through custody decisions. When an agreement can’t be arranged between the parents, a custody dispute may ensue. Psychologists may be asked to step in and evaluate the situation.
Psychologists can perform custody evaluations
There are several techniques that lawyers and judges use when helping parents agree on custody arrangements. When all other avenues fail, a judge may appoint a forensic psychologist to step in and help. A forensic psychologist can perform what is known as a custody evaluation to assess the different psychological factors that affect the children of the divorcing couple. This evaluation can help a judge learn what the best interests of the children are psychologically and can help the judge make custody arrangements that will serve these interests.
Custody evaluations are done with extensive interviews
A forensic psychologist will perform a custody evaluation by interviewing people in the couple’s and child’s life who have interacted with them. These interviews include talking with the children about their needs, hobbies, friends and relationships. A psychologist may also speak with teachers, coaches, neighbors, church leaders and family members. A home visit may also occur to help the psychologist understand the needs of each child.
Psychological assessments of the parents
Occasionally, a judge may also ask for a psychological assessment to be done on one or both of the parents. This can help the court determine if any psychological issues need to be taken into account when making a custody decision. These assessments can cause further tension in an already strained relationship, which is why it may be helpful to talk with an experienced attorney when deciding on timesharing and child custody matters. An attorney may help ensure that their client’s best interests are being represented and that their rights aren’t impeded during the process.