Can You Request a Psychological Evaluation in a Child Custody Case?
Can You Request a Psychological Evaluation in a Child Custody Case?

Mental health conditions are quite prevalent today. Did you know that one out of five adults suffer from mental health problem? You can use medication or attend therapies to reduce the effect of these issues. Sometimes psychological problems can become a threat to the well-being and safety of others. 

Thousands of people go through divorces every year. Do you know why a large number of divorce cases don’t end well? Because one of the parents doesn’t get custody of their child.  Are you planning to get divorced and believe that you should take care of the child instead of the other parent? You can do so by demanding a psychological evaluation to get custody of your child

You’d be surprised to see the number of cases where one parent doubts the other’s mental condition to obtain custody. If you also believe that is the case with your husband or wife, asking the Los Angeles court for a psychological evaluation could strengthen your case. The test’s results will be a critical factor influencing the court’s decision to award custody to the other parent is a good idea. 

When is it Appropriate to Ask for Psychological Testing?

Courts in California and every other state in the U.S, prioritize determining the child’s best interests. They provide their final decision based on various arguments, evidence, and testimony presented by lawyers, witnesses, and other individuals pertinent to the case. The parent’s psychological or mental state is a critical element that most judges consider before deciding the rightful custodian.

The courts in California also have the power to order mental evaluation if they sense an issue. However, ordering this test is not a legal requirement, and some judges ignore it if they believe it will be a waste of time. However, if you think that your former partner has a serious psychological or mental problem posing a threat to your child/children, you can request a 730 evaluation.  

Here is a list of arguments that could convince a court to command psychological testing:

  • History of psychological issues
  • Questionable and erratic parenting conduct
  • Alcohol and drug dependency or abuse
  • Child abuse allegations

An experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the 730 Evaluation process.

A Close Look at the 730 Evaluation 

In the California family court, judges often use the 730 evaluation to take an in-depth look into the psychological health of the mother or father seeking custody of their child. Once the court orders this evaluation, an experienced custody evaluator takes over and conducts a thorough investigation. For those who don’t know, custody evaluators are third party professionals with a minimum experience of five years. 

They diagnose mental problems and don’t take sides – an evaluator could be a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist. He or she will review the details surrounding the 730 evaluation request and conduct appropriate tests to decide the parent’s mental fitness.

Here is a list of popular tests used during child custody hearings:

  • Bricklin Perceptual Scales aka BPS
  • Thematic apperception test
  • Rorschach inkblot test
  • Millon clinical multiaxial inventory

A few other tests that an evaluator may conduct but the ones mentioned above are the most popular in 730 evaluations.

What Happens Next?

Once the evaluator completes your test, they will present your results to the court, reviewing its findings. These results are incredibly helpful in determining if a parent’s mental state would put their child in jeopardy or at risk of harm. 

The court does not have to revoke or deny custody despite noticing some issues in the parent’s mental health record.  There are treatments for most psychological problems, and the recipient of these treatments can live a perfectly healthy life while looking after their children. However, some courts may show hesitation affirming or awarding custody if the parent in question does not show willingness towards treating their psychological condition. The court may also revoke custody if there is no treatment for the condition. 

The Requestor Could Also Get Tested

Requesting a mental evaluation does not mean that you are in the clear. While the court may accept your request, it could order you to undergo testing too. Why? Because it ensures that the legal system does not get abused, and both parents have a fair trial. Keeping this detail in mind is critical if you are thinking about filing a motion for mental health testing. 

It will be best no to force this issue if you think the court might question your parenting ability after your former partner’s evaluation. Ordering a psychological evaluation in a child custody case could lead to a slippery slope if your allegations are false. Consider consulting with an experienced lawyer before taking this step, as ordering this test might not be favorable in some cases.

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