Should you request a psychological evaluation in your child custody case?
Austin child custody cases are a complex aspect of divorce negotiations and are often a factor that makes the divorce process particularly stressful when parties cannot agree on a parenting plan. Ultimately, the best interests of the child or children are the most important factor in the eyes of the court, and a judge can and will revise a custody plan if they believe it to be appropriate to do so.
When a judge is considering a child’s best interest they only have the information presented in court to work with. In some instances, they may therefore request a psychological evaluation to help them come to a decision.
What are psychological evaluations in child custody cases?
Psychological evaluations assess the competency of the parents to take care of a child and might involve the diagnosis of mental health conditions. The evaluations are performed by third-party professionals such as social workers or psychiatrists, and usually, both parents are assessed to ensure fairness.
Such evaluations are typically only requested by a judge if they sense there might be an issue, for example, if one of the parents has alleged that the other has a history of mental health issues, alcohol abuse or poor parenting conduct. However, a parent can also request a psychological evaluation if they believe the other parent poses a risk to their child or children.
Will I benefit from requesting a psychological evaluation?
Bear in mind that if you request a psychological evaluation as part of your custody case, you will be evaluated as well as the child’s other parent. This is to ensure that the trial remains fair for both parties. These evaluations can be intrusive and stressful, and your parenting abilities and skills will be assessed in great detail. It is therefore only recommended to request an evaluation if you have a genuine reason to believe the other parent is not fit to have custody.
It can be difficult to decide whether to request a psychological evaluation. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons in detail with your Austin divorce lawyer to ensure you understand how the process works under Texas law. If you need more advice about child custody law or are looking for an experienced divorce lawyer in Austin, do not hesitate to contact Newberry Law P.L.L.C. to set up a consultation.