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

Typically, a psychological evaluation is only ordered when one or both parents makes a claim that the other is unfit to parent. The basis for such a request is usually to show the judge the weighty concerns regarding a parent’s mental health and his or her ability to provide an emotionally stable environment for the child. The evaluation would be used to help the judge make an appropriate determination regarding custody. If you believe that your child’s other parent is unfit to care for your child, your Dallas child custody lawyer may advise you to obtain a psych assessment. However, if you do choose this route, there are a few considerations you should make first, as the courts take such request seriously. If the judge learns that you only ordered an assessment to make the other parent look bad, it could work in the other parent’s favor.

Considerations to Make Before Requesting a Psych Evaluation

Before you request an evaluation of your child’s mom or dad, you need to consider the following:

  • If you request a motion against the opposing party, he or she has the right to request a motion against you. All is fair in love and war. If you ask your former partner for an evaluation of any kind—whether it is a psychological assessment, a drug test, or any court ordered procedure—he or she has the right to order the same of you, and you must comply.
  • Psychological evaluations are expensive. A mental health assessment is conducted by a trained professional, and you must pay trained-professional prices. Though the cost of an assessment depends on how in-depth the exam is, most evaluations cost between $1,500 and $5,000. The cost doubles if the opposing party fights back and orders one on you, too. While you could ask the judge to make the other party pay for his or her evaluation, the same could be asked of you regarding yours.
  • The results can do more harm than good. The results of an assessment may reveal nothing regarding the other person’s mental health but a great deal about your character. For instance, if the professional determines that there is nothing wrong with your former partner’s mental health, the judge may begin to believe that you are the one with irrational beliefs or opinions.

Though a psychological evaluation can work in your favor, you should only request one on your former partner if you truly believe that he or she is mentally unstable. If the assessment turns out to be a waste of everyone’s time and money, the judge may deduct points in your favor.

Consult a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney Before You File a Request

If you believe that your child’s other parent is mentally unfit to care for your little one, you have every right to do what is necessary to gain full custody. However, you need to be aware that what is necessary might not be what is helpful. A skilled attorney can advise you when to request a psychological evaluation and when to rely on your own relationship with your child and parenting skills to win the custody battle. Before you file any motions with the court, talk to a Dallas custody attorney. If you have yet to retain one, call Clark Law Group to schedule a consultation today.

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