Dealing With Professional Biased Opinions in Child Custody Battles

How to Combat Biased Third Parties

In many child custody dispute a third party can be brought in to evaluate both parents, or in some cases the children as well, to make an accurate conclusion based on the facts present such as mental and physical well being, financial stability or background assessments. This can sometimes be requested by one parent or the other, a family member involved in the child’s life or mandated by the judge before a court order can be drawn up. The person performing the evaluation will most likely be a Psychologist of a sub-field involving family dynamics or mental well being. It’s also not uncommon to have a legal professional do the evaluation. Unfortunately professional evaluators can carry a bias with them that can negatively affect mothers or fathers. It is possible to blow the whistle on a biased professional evaluator or get a different person to do the evaluation. Here a few things to look for and what you can do to avoid a biased evaluation:

  • Read Up On The Evaluators Previous Work. A lot of legal professions or professional psychologists write articles related to their field of expertise. You can read up on this kind of material to gain any insight into how they make their conclusions on the people they work with or the ideas they support in their field. Due to the plethora of information on the internet, there might be relevant information or online reviews from people within the community on the person who has come in on your custody or visitation dispute.
  • Ask An Attorney. If you have an attorney working on your case most of the time they will be able to provide you with some information on the evaluator. Professionals that preside over family legal issues usually run in the same circles and know each other. It could be a simple issue of asking the right person the right questions to find out if there is bias at play in your case.
  • Check Out Their Credentials. Make sure that this person isn’t a bogus “professional” making decisions about your family without the right credentials or experience. The bottom line is that these people are coming into your life and making decisions that will affect the judge’s decision on how much time you get to spend with your child.

In some cases you might not be able to change the evaluator in your case. However, by gathering the right facts and doing your homework on this person you can find out if they are making a judgment that is not unbiased. Presenting this kind of evidence in a court room, or having your lawyer use this in your case, can act as a buffer for the judge’s decision and can potentially nullify such evaluations. Ironic as it is to say, ask a legal professional about state laws or your chances of getting this kind of action taken to improve your chances of winning custody. It all takes legwork and commitment and the outcome is worth the effort.

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Posted in A Childs Best Interests, Child Custody, Child Visitation, Children, Courtroom Preparation, Family Court, Joint Custody, Mediation, Third Party Evaluators
30 comments on “Dealing With Professional Biased Opinions in Child Custody Battles
  1. Reblogged this on NewJerseyDYFSDefense and commented:
    This problem surfaces in Child Welfare litigation, as well. Take a look at this excellent article discussing bias of professional opinions in Custody litigation.

  2. Carolann says:

    Thank you. I appreciate the article and recognize that bias in the judicial arena is a major concern. However, I think encouraging parents to do the legwork to “win” custody is a disservice. If parents did the legwork and committed to co-parent together during and after their divorce (or breakup in the case of unmarried parents) there would be less need for an evaluator to tell the court what to decide and less need for judges to decide how someone else’s children should be parented. Custody is not something to win or lose; children deserve to have loving, full relationships with both parents. And it is up to the parents to see that it happens. Being able to co-parent effectively is a win-win for everyone, especially the children.

    • You are absolutely correct about successful co-parenting children after a divorce or separation is a win-win. The unfortunate reality, is there will always be parents who refuse to agree or compromise with one another with not just their children, but also most other domestic situations in life. This statement is not made lightly or generally, we are well aware that there are millions of parents who remain courteous with each other after their marriage or romantic relationship ends, and carry out a civil relationship for the sake of their children’s healthy upbringing. They will continue to be great examples for other parents out there.
      We appreciate this comment very much, thank you!

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