Even when spouses have the best intentions to end their marriage peacefully, divorces have the potential to be filled with contention. Throughout the divorce process, a couple must make many life-altering decisions, including how assets are divided, the details of a parenting plan, and decisions regarding spousal support. In many cases, the decisions regarding children can be the most difficult. When determining the allocation of parenting responsibilities, it may be beneficial to seek the professional opinion of a psychological expert. If you are facing a custody case, your family law attorney can help you explore your options and provide you with advice on when to use a psychological expert. Below are three important factors to consider during your custody case:
Can Psychological Experts Impact the Outcome of a Custody Case?
When parenting plans are determined, the most important factor is the well-being of the child. For this reason, it is not uncommon for a parent (or both parents) to undergo a mental health evaluation per Illinois Supreme Court Rule 215. For example, a judge may order a mental health evaluation if there is any doubt regarding mental illness, addiction problems, or other psychological conditions that could impact the life of the child. During the exam, a psychological expert, who may be either a psychologist or a licensed clinical social worker, will determine:
The parent’s capacity to raise the child
The parent’s ability to meet the child’s future needs (schooling, healthcare, etc.)
The parent’s child-rearing related values
If there is a safe home available for the child
If there is any condition present that could harm the child
Depending on the results of the mental health evaluation, the custody arrangement could be altered.
The Psychological Expert Should Be Neutral
According to the Illinois Supreme Court Rule, a psychological expert should not cross any roles, meaning any expert who is hired should not have a conflict of interest. In other words, the medical professional should be impartial. For example, it may not be prudent for a party to hire a relative who is also a child psychologist to act as an expert witness.
Psychological Experts Can Be Court-Appointed
The psychological expert may be called in to testify by either party. The court may also call for the expert witness. Regardless of who hires the expert, he or she is subject to cross-examination by the opposing side.
Contact a Lombard, IL Divorce Attorney
If you are currently going through a custody battle, it can be emotionally draining as you strive to fight for the rights of your child as well as your rights as a parent. A team of experts, including a knowledgeable DuPage County child custody lawyer and a mental health expert, can assist you throughout the court proceedings. At A. Traub & Associates, we will help protect your parental rights while you create a parenting plan. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 630-426-0196.