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Should I Have My Spouse Evaluated in a Child Custody Dispute?

 Posted on May 16, 2024 in Divorce

Wheaton, IL child custody lawyerIn any child custody dispute, an Illinois court tries to accommodate both the rights of the parents and the best interest of the child. When those two things conflict, the court will side with the child’s interests. To determine what is in the child’s best interest, courts can use several tools at their disposal, one of which is a psychological evaluation.

A psychological evaluation of one or both of the parents can be ordered by the court if the judge is concerned that the parent may be harmful to the child. However, a spouse can also request that the other parent be evaluated.

Psychological evaluations are taken seriously by courts and should only be ordered in certain cases. If you feel your co-parent needs to be evaluated, first speak with an Illinois child custody attorney who can advise you on how to proceed.

What Is a Psychological Evaluation?

A psychological evaluation is an assessment of a person’s mental health. In this case, it is an assessment of a parent by a qualified professional who is trying to see if the parent’s mental health presents any harm to the child.

In a psychological evaluation, a mental health professional will do some or all of the following:

  • Conduct interviews with the parents and child

  • Conduct interviews with family members and friends

  • Observe the parents and child in certain settings

  • Give the parents psychological tests

  • Review medical records for any history of depression or disorders that may affect the child

  • Conduct a home study where the professional visits the home

The mental health professional will then submit a report to the court with his or her findings.

Should I Have My Spouse Evaluated?

If you ask the court to have your spouse evaluated, it should only be because you have real concerns about the safety of your child. There are several reasons for this:

  • If the court feels the parent presented no real threat to the child’s well-being, your request may be seen as malicious. A judge will start having concerns about your own behavior, and that can hurt your case.

  • If you request a psychological evaluation, Illinois law requires you to pay for it. An evaluation can cost up to $20,000.

  • If your co-parent misses any work because of the evaluation, you will have to reimburse him or her for lost wages. You may also need to pay for his or her transportation.

  • If you ask for an evaluation of your co-parent, he or she may request one of you.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Child Custody Lawyer

Psychological evaluations are sometimes necessary in child custody cases and can save the child from being harmed by an unfit parent. But asking for an evaluation when it is not absolutely necessary can backfire and damage your case. Consult with a Wheaton, Illinois child custody attorney who will help you decide whether an evaluation should be requested.

At Goostree Law Group, we have over 80 years of combined legal experience, including in child custody cases. We will tell you whether a psychological evaluation is likely to be a good idea in your case and how a court might view it. Our attorneys will vigorously defend your interests and fight for your child’s well-being. Call 630-364-4046 for premium legal services and a free consultation today.

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