Evaluating Mental Health for Child Custody

by | Feb 6, 2020 | Lawyers

In most custody situations in the state of Illinois, there is no need for a mental health evaluation of one or both of the parents. However, in some cases, a parent or the court may require specific testing to ensure the parent is not a danger to the children. These requests are considered by the court, and they may be upheld or denied based on the discretion of the judge.

When a parent requests a mental health evaluation, he or she is required to pay the costs of the evaluation, including any lost wages and additional costs, the other parent experiences due to the evaluation process. Making an unfounded request can also reflect on the individual making the request, and it is recommended to discuss this request with an experienced child custody attorney before filing a motion with the court.

In situations where the court requests a mental health evaluation, the cost is typically shared or split between the parents. However, the parents may decide to have one parent pay depending on financial ability and other factors. The court may require a mental health evaluation on only one parent or for both parents, and this will depend on the specifics of the case.

The Process
A mental health evaluation must be completed by a mental health professional. This may include a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a social worker. In many of these evaluations, more than one professional is involved. A child custody attorney can counsel the divorcing parents for the benefit of their child.

Testing can include a wide range of test options, including personality tests, intelligence or IQ tests, neuropsychological testing as well as specific types of achievement tests. It is also common to include specific tests that measure the parent’s interaction with the children and their ability to parent effectively and safely.

These types of tests can include the PCRI or the Parent Child Relationship Inventory, The CRPB, or the Children’s Reports of Parental Behavior, as well as the Parenting Stress Index or PSI.

The testing is presented in conjunction with other data, including information obtained through interviews and direct observations of the children and the children and parent interactions. The goal through the evaluation is to capture a wide range of data to provide a complete picture of the parent’s mental health and ability to parent the children, not a narrow view that is based on a single source of information.

The professionals involved in the mental health evaluation prepare a report that is presented to the court. This report contains recommendations to the judge based on the information and the specifics of the information, observation, data, and test results. The child custody attorneys at Keller Legal Services can help you and your child to understand the situation and get through this.

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