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Conducting Child Custody Evaluations
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Conducting Child Custody Evaluations
From Basic to Complex Issues



November 2010 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This book is a combination of two previously published books by Phil Stahl/Sage, Conducting Child Custody Evaluations and Complex Issues in Child Custody Evaluations.

The book was written as a guide to help students and practitioners walk through the process of conducting a child custody evaluation, a critical skill for a variety of mental health practitioners. The book will cover the mental health expert's many possible roles as a therapist, mediator, evaluator, consultant to attorneys, expert witness, and more. It also address the best interest of the child, legal custody and time share, divorce and its impact on children, and children's developmental needs. The second part takes a step-by-step approach on how to conduct the evaluation, including how to work with children and parents, psychological testing, and writing up the report. The final part, complex issues, draws from the 1999 book, and covers issues such as domestic violence, non-violent high-conflict homes, relocation, special needs children, substance abuse, cultural issues and the alienated child. The author's writing style is friendly and easy to read, making complex material easy to comprehend and implement.

 
Preface
 
PART I: CRITICAL PROFESSIONAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES
 
1. Introduction to the Role, Ethics, and Professional Responsibility
How the Courts Benefit From an Evaluation

 
How the Family Benefits From an Evaluation

 
When is the Evaluation Harmful

 
Who is the Client/Consumer

 
Practical Standards and Ethical Issues

 
Evaluator Biases

 
Reducing the Risk of Bias

 
 
2. The Mental Health Expert's Many Possible Roles
Therapists

 
Therapeutic Reunification

 
Collaborative Law Coach

 
Psychologist Evaluator/Psychiatrist/Vocational Evaluator

 
Mediator

 
Consultant to Attorney/Expert Witness

 
Parent Coordinator

 
The Custody Evaluator

 
Dual Relationships

 
 
3. Fundamental Questions in Most Custody Evaluations
The Best Interests of the Child

 
The Family's Relationships

 
Parenting Strengths and Weaknesses

 
The Co-Parental Relationship

 
Time-Sharing Recommendations

 
 
4. General divorce-Related Research and Basic Statutory and Case Law
A Quick Primer on Research

 
Risks of Divorce to Children

 
Risk vs. Resiliency

 
Mitigating Factors

 
Research on Parent's Relationships After Divorce

 
Basic Statutory and Case Law

 
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)

 
Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act

 
Troxel Vs. Granville (2000)

 
Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

 
California Statutes and Case Law

 
 
5. Children's Developmental Needs
A Developmental Framework

 
 
PART II: CONDUCTING THE CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION
 
6. Conducting the Evaluation Part I: Observations and Techniques With Adults
The Court Order and Initial Contact With Attorneys

 
The Initial Phone Call and Contacts With Parents

 
The Initial Contact

 
The First Conjoint Appointment

 
The Initial Individual Appointment

 
The Second Interview and Beyond

 
What to Believe?

 
The Use of Psychological Tests

 
 
7. Conducting the Evaluation Part II: Observations and Techniques With Children
Significant Issues in the Assessment of Children/Gaining Rapport at the Beginning of the First Interview

 
Children and the Potential for Suggestibility

 
Children and Their Language

 
Gathering Information About the Child's Experiences

 
Directly Assessing the Parent-Child Bond

 
Siblings Together, or Not?

 
Use of Play and Other Techniques in Understanding Children

 
Home Visits

 
The Preference of the Child

 
 
8. The Use of Psychological Testing in Custody Evaluations
Review of the Literature

 
Traditional Psychological Tests

 
Tests Designed Specifically for Custody Evaluations

 
Parenting Inventories

 
Tests for Children

 
Benefits of Using Tests

 
Risks in Using Tests

 
Computerized Test Results

 
A Balanced Approach

 
 
9. Gathering of Collateral Data
What is Collateral Data?

 
Benefits of Using Collateral Data

 
Record Review

 
Gathering Lists of Collateral Sources

 
Who To Talk To - A Concentric Circle Approach

 
Interviewing Collateral Sources

 
 
10. Sharing the Results of the Evaluation - The Evaluation Report
AFCC Model Standards

 
Basic Characteristics of a Quality Report

 
Information Which Must be in Every Report

 
The Parents

 
The Children

 
Collateral Information

 
Analysis and Summary

 
Recommendations

 
 
PART III: COMPLEX ISSUES TO BE EVALUATED
 
11. Non-Violent High Conflict Families
Contribution From Personality Features

 
Contribution From Other Sources

 
Recommendations for High Conflict Families

 
A Case for Sole Legal custody of Decision Making

 
 
12. Domestic Violence
The Concept of Differentiation

 
Approaching the Family's Domestic Violence Issues

 
Parenting Problems of Domestic Violence Parents

 
Gathering Data

 
The Alphabet Soup of Using Data to Formulate Conclusions

 
Using the PPPP Analysis with the RRR Concepts to Reach a Decision About the Parenting Plan

 
Therapeutic and Structural Interventions

 
 
13. The Alienated Child
Contribution to the Child's Alienated Response

 
Parent Contributions to the Development of Alienation

 
Child Contributions to the Development of Alienation

 
Typical Alienated Behaviors in Children

 
Emotional Impact of Alienation on Children

 
Dynamics of the Larger System

 
Evaluation of Alienation

 
Other Reasons for Alignment With One Parent - What to Look for in the Children

 
Concluding the Evaluation

 
 
14. Relocation Evaluations
Legal Considerations in Relocation Evaluations - Relevant Case Law

 
Legal Considerations in Relocation Evaluations - Relevant Statutory Law

 
The Psychological Literature Related to Relocation

 
Societal Issue That Often Lead to Requests to Move

 
Factors for the Evaluator to Consider

 
Special Issues in International Cases

 
Avoiding Bias

 
 
15. Tackling the Terror of Testifying
The Deposition

 
The Process at Trial

 
Preparing for the Testimony

 
Testifying Procedures

 
Stick to the Data

 
Dealing With Hypothetical Questions

 
Remain Professional

 
Trick Questions

 
Do's and Don'ts for Testifying in Court

 
 
16. Critiquing Evaluations
 
17. Conclusions
Special Needs for Children

 
Substance Abuse Issues

 
Sexual Abuse Allegations

 
Longitudinal Evaluations

 
Conclusions

 
 
Appendices
Sample Court Order

 
Sample Informed Consent and Retainer Agreement

 
Sample Intake Form

 
Sample Listing of Questions for Parents

 
Sample Listing of Questions for Children

 
Sample Alienation Analysis and Recommendation

 
Sample Relocaiton Analysis and Recommendation

 
 
References
 
About the Author

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412974349
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