Child Custody Evaluations
Psychological assessments can make significant contributions to child custody decisions.
Psychological data and expertise, gained through a child custody evaluation, can provide an additional source of information and perspective not otherwise readily available to the court on what appears to be in a child’s best interest, and thus can increase the fairness of the determination the court must make.
The primary purpose of a child custody evaluation is to assess the individual and family factors that affect the psychological interests of the child. The child’s interests and well-being are paramount. The focus of the evaluation is on parenting, and the psychological and developmental needs of the child.
In considering psychological factors that affect the best interests of the child, the psychologist focuses on the parenting capacity of the prospective custodians in conjunction with the psychological and developmental needs of each involved child.
This involves an assessment of the adults’ capacities for parenting, including whatever knowledge, attributes, skills, and abilities, or lack thereof, are present; an assessment of the psychological functioning and developmental needs of each child and of the wishes of each child where appropriate; and an assessment of the functional ability of each parent to meet these needs, including an evaluation of the interaction between each adult and child.
Our psychologists provide an important service to children and the courts by providing competent, objective and impartial information in assessing the best interests of the child; by demonstrating a clear sense of direction and purpose in conducting a child custody evaluation; by performing their roles ethically; and by clarifying to all involved the nature and scope of the evaluation.