The forensic psychiatrist makes an important contribution to questions of child custody determination. Many family courts place tremendous power in the hands of the expert to determine the best interests of the child. Forensic consultants’ child custody recommendations strongly influence questions of visitation, and mandated supervision and treatment.
Psychiatric Issues in Child Custody Cases
Because child custody battles may include questions about a parent’s chemical dependency, sexual proclivities, or psychiatric illness, some cases require not only an assessment of the needs of the child, but of the parent’s health as well. The challenge of prognosticating the best custody scenario for a child’s future demands that the forensic psychiatrist be conversant with family dynamics. In this regard, behavioral sciences and family law differs from other domains of the mental health-law interface. Family courts are traditionally more responsive to psychodynamic principles than personal injury and other courts that focus the forensic examination on symptom assessment.
The children’s physical and psychosocial development may suggest a parent’s ability or inability to care for the child. How does an expert attribute responsibility for stunted child development? With a tenacious attention to understanding the household, The Forensic Panel goes beyond the obvious to identify the needs of each child in a personalized manner, and utilizes available expertise in both psychiatry and pediatrics. The court, therefore, gains meaningful insight into how and why a parent can or cannot act in the best interests of the child.
The Forensic Panel specialists have an extensive background in Child Custody cases
Child custody cases benefit from the diversity of expertise available through The Forensic Panel, including specialists in neuropsychology to assess cognitive dysfunction and emergency medicine specialists to assess the possibility of abuse and neglect.
Child custody evaluations incorporate information removed from the mudslinging of the parent’s sometimes desperate efforts to secure children. Investigative tenacity to sort through the starkly differing representations is a must. So is an appraisal through the experience of a child. Those certified in child psychiatry, in addition to experienced or certified in forensic psychiatry, have special qualification for doing so. The Forensic Panel’s commitment to maintaining integrity in child custody matters uses peer review to contain bias and ensure a thorough scrutiny and interview of all sources and resources.
Peer reviewed forensic consultation, originated and refined through The Forensic Panel, make an authoritative statement to the court and to opposing counsel that an examination represents medical certainty. At the Forensic Panel, we consider such an approach especially vital to presenting and rebutting forensic testimony in child custody cases, since courts are particularly influenced by the information brought to them by experts, and given the significance of a court’s decision on the rest of a child’s life.