Using Psychological Experts in Child Custody Matters

Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to consult outside experts to evaluate and aid in determining equitable child custody, parenting time (visitation) or child support. Our law firm has experience using psychological experts in child custody matters.

Experts Who May Be Helpful

We counsel clients on the options and potential benefits of using outside experts as well as the time and possible costs involved:

  • Parenting Coordinators — Often beneficial in high-conflict cases, Parenting Coordinators help parents negotiate future conflicts following divorce. Having an unbiased third party is often beneficial for parents when issues arise regarding changes to parenting plans, schools, relocation issues, etc.
  • Court-Appointed Advisors — Although uncommon, it may be necessary to involve a court-appointed advisor if serious allegations of parental unfitness, including substance abuse, domestic violence or mental instability, exist between opposing sides.
  • Best-Interests Attorneys (Guardian Ad Litem) — If both parents are possibly unfit due to substance abuse, allegations of domestic abuse or mental unfitness, the court may appoint a best-interests attorney to represent the interests of the child in court.
  • Judge interviews — If children are of a certain age, judges may communicate directly with a child. While permitted under Arizona family law, most judges prefer to rely on alternative methods to determine custody such as a child interview by a qualified counselor or social worker.

Generally, these types of experts are necessary for highly disputed child custody matters, but they can also be beneficial for parents who simply disagree over how to divide parenting responsibilities. Our Phoenix child custody attorneys will review your situation and provide practical advice on whether involving an outside expert would be beneficial for your case.

Custody Evaluations

Custody evaluations are performed by outside psychological experts who may interview parents, relatives and other important figures in the child's life such as teachers or close family friends. Custody evaluations are useful in parenting conflicts involving parental unfitness or relocation disputes.

Custody evaluations can be expensive in high-conflict cases. A more affordable option is a Parenting Conference, which is a more limited parental interview process that can provide the court with a recommendation as to parenting issues.

We'll Help You Understand Your Options in Child Custody Matters

At Lasiter & Jackson, we provide knowledgeable representation to handle the delicate issues of divorce, child custody, parenting time and child support, among other family law matters. We are committed to providing qualified case assessments at a reasonable cost.

Contact our law firm in Phoenix to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer.