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How a psychologist can help with your child custody case

Psychologists are frequently brought in during child custody proceedings to support an award of child custody to one parent over another. Psychologists are also useful in supporting decisions related to guardianship, abuse, neglect and the termination of custody.

The American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct offers guidelines to psychologists to use when making recommendations about child custody in these contexts. The guidelines have the goal of assisting psychologists to use their training and experience to evaluate certain child custody situations. Generally, the role of the psychologist is to offer his or her expertise to assist the court in making the determination of what kind of ruling will serve the best interests of the child involved.

Parents reach out-of-court child custody settlements in approximately 90 percent of cases, but when parents can't come to agreement, the court will issue a ruling on the matter. It's in these instances when psychologists can offer their services by giving the court objective, competent and impartial information that assesses the child's needs and best interests given the circumstances.

In some cases, psychologists might have different opinions about a particular child custody matter after a thorough review of the situation, the people and the children involved. In fact, the parents might bring forth psychological child custody experts to prove their different opinions about how the matter should be decided. By understanding the law and how experts can and should be used in child custody matters, North Carolina parents will be better equipped to handle situations where two competing expert opinions are used as evidence in their court proceedings.

Source: law.ucdavis.edu, "Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings," accessed Dec. 06, 2017