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Forensic psychology, family law and child custody

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2022 | Child Custody |

Child custody cases are always challenging. Emotions run high as parents try to balance their desire for a favorable outcome with what is best for the child. In the Texas court system, a family law judge may request a forensic psychologist to aid the process.

The task of a forensic psychologist

The court may call a forensic psychologist when other attempts at a settlement have failed in a child custody case. The primary task of this professional is to determine the best custody solution for the long-term mental and emotional health of the children in the family. In most cases, the psychologist interviews the children to gain a better understanding of their current mental health needs.

A judge might also ask the psychologist to examine the mental state of one or both parents. These interviews will determine their parenting abilities and if they are mentally and emotionally capable of caring for children.

Determining a child’s mental and emotional well-being

The process of forensic psychology takes some time. Because the psychologist is a stranger, establishing trust with children requires several sessions. The psychologist may also interview people outside the immediate family circle who are less invested in the divorce proceedings. These interviews can include people like:

  • Teachers
  • Doctors
  • Coaches
  • Counselors
  • Other relatives

Listening to outside voices provides a better picture of how a child’s home life impacts their well-being.

The final report

At the end of the interview process, the psychologist submits a final report to the court. This statement may provide additional information that helps the couple reach a joint settlement. Otherwise, the judge will use the document to make a ruling.

The powerful emotions around divorce make it difficult for parents to see their children’s needs. A forensic psychologist works to find the best solution for children’s health and well-being.