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When Should I Request a Psychological Evaluation in a Child Custody Case?

Posted On February 1, 2021 In Child Custody

You should request a psychological evaluation in a child custody case if and when you suspect your spouse is suffering from an untreated mental health issue that could affect the overall health, safety, and well-being of your child or children.  Arizona courts prioritize the best interests of a couple’s children when making child custody determinations.  

The family court bases children’s best interests on several factors, including both parents’ psychological and mental states.  Therefore a psychological evaluation outlining mental health issues in one parent may become a critical component in influencing the court’s decision in awarding child custody to the other parent.

A psychological evaluation is not a legal requirement and is not ordered as a matter of course.  Therefore, the court or the child’s attorney must sense a need for an evaluation, or the other parent must request an evaluation.  

It is important to note that the requesting parent may have to undergo psychological testing as well so that the court system is not abused and the process remains fair.

Compelling Arguments for Psychological Evaluations in Child Custody Cases

Compelling arguments a parent’s attorney may raise to the court in favor of a psychological evaluation of the other parent include:

  • The other parent’s history of psychological issues;
  • The other parent’s questionable and erratic parenting behavior;
  • Any alcohol and drug dependency or abuse by the other parent; and
  • Any child abuse allegations against the other parent.

Popular Psychological Evaluation Tests in Child Custody Cases

When the court orders psychological evaluations, these tests take an in-depth look into the parent’s mental health in question.  The most popular mental evaluation tests used on parents include the following:

  • Bricklin Perceptual Scales;
  • Thematic Apperception Test;
  • Rorschach Inkblot Test; and
  • Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory.

Any test results can help the court determine if a parent’s mental state could put their children in jeopardy or at risk of harm.  As there are treatments for most psychological problems, parents who are willing to participate in treatment generally do not lose custody of their children altogether, nor are they denied visitation.  However, the court may revoke custody for untreatable conditions.

If you are considering requesting a psychological evaluation of the other parent in your child custody case, consult an experienced family law attorney.  Any false allegations could reflect poorly on you and your chances for custody.  

It is also crucial to notify your attorney at your first meeting regarding any mental illness or mental health issues suffered by yourself or your spouse.  This allows your attorney to prepare your case accordingly.  

At Wilson-Goodman, PLLC, we understand how vital your child custody and your children are to you.  Whether you suspect the other parent will request you receive a psychological evaluation or you want the other parent to receive a psychological evaluation, our family law attorneys can help.  

Wilson-Goodman, PLLC, is dedicated to providing sound legal guidance and practical solutions to our clients.  Meet with one of our experienced Chandler divorce attorneys at your earliest convenience to discuss your questions regarding mental illness and the best interests of your children.