What role does a forensic psychologist play in child custody cases?

Tucson Family Law Logo

Issues surrounding child custody may achieve amicable resolutions in Arizona family courts. The divorcing spouses might come to agreements that both parties find satisfactory. In contested cases, a judge could make the necessary decision about custody. To arrive at a conclusion, a judge may rely on a forensic psychologist’s assessment.

Top reasons for contacting a forensic psychologist

Why would the courts rely on a forensic psychologist? A child’s biological parents, sadly, may not be capable of caring for the young one. In extreme cases, a parent could be physically or emotionally abusive. Placing the child in a home with such a parent might be disastrous for his or her development. Sometimes, the parent may not be abusive but could not provide the necessary care for the young one.

In some cases, the judge might require additional testimony and professional evaluations to determine a parent’s competence. A forensic psychologist could be the most appropriate professional to call for assistance. Forensic psychologists specialize in legal and criminal applications, psychology, and psychological assessments.

Utilizing an expert witness

Psychologists called to provide testimony likely possess the necessary background and experience to testify in court. Both spouse’s attorneys may request an “expert witness.” An expert witness could be someone who published peer-reviewed articles on various subjects related to applied psychology and/or served as a witness in numerous court cases.

The forensic psychologist won’t make any court decisions; instead, the evaluations receive a review from the judge. The judge makes the determinations regarding child custody and other matters at the conclusion of divorce proceedings.

Attorneys may address a forensic psychologist’s assessments during a child custody case. A family law attorney might seek to sway the court to see that his/her client could be the better custodian for the child.