Family Evaluation in Custody Litigation: Reducing Risks of Ethical Infractions and Malpractice
For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories
In Family Evaluation in Custody Litigation, authors Benjamin and Gollan provide a step-by-step child custody assessment protocol that protects families, while at the same time helps new evaluators minimize the likelihood of committing ethical infractions or malpractice.
For mental health professionals interested in beginning a career in forensic child custody assessment, balancing both the legal and clinical issues that surround family evaluations and custody disputes can be complicated. Without this knowledge, the risk of causing undue emotional injury increases.
The book puts family litigation into context and reviews the legal evidentiary standards that pertain to psychological testing, scientific evidence, and expert witness testimony used in the court system. Although written for the novice evaluator, it can help enhance the clinical skills of even the most seasoned evaluators, because it offers a complete overview of the judicial process and the evolving changes in the standards of practice. The authors share invaluable materials, including a sample written evaluation report and other forms that readers can adapt for use in their own practices.
This book draws from a practical and straightforward assessment methodology that is founded on empirical research, clinical expertise, and professional practice. Those also interested in cultivating a practice outside the parameters of the managed health care system will find the authors' instruction useful. The book is recommended reading for any mental health professional who wants to conduct custody evaluations while adhering to the highest ethical standards and guidelines.
Foreword to the Series
I. Understanding the Context
- Context of Custody Litigation
- Evidentiary Standards and Rules of Evidence
- Ethics, Competence, and Training
II. Conducting Evaluations: Introduction
- Phase 1: Pre-Evaluation Procedures
- Phase 2: First Clinical Interview
- Phase 3: Observations of Parents and Children
- Phase 4: Contacting Collaterals
- Phase 5: Closing Interviews and Data Integration
- Phase 6: Presentation to Court
III. Annotated Report Outline and Sample Evaluation Reports: Introduction
- Annotated Structure of a Parenting Evaluation Report
- Sample A. Report of Mr. D. v. Ms. M., Evaluation for Modification of Parenting Plan
- Sample B. Report of Mr. D. v. Ms. M., Evaluation for Permanent Parenting Plan Action
- Agreement to Parenting Evaluation
- Evaluation Tracking Form
- Declarations of Party Noncompliance
- Parenting Evaluation in a Legal Setting
- Semistructured Interview for Adults
- Adult and Child-Focused Allegation Forms
- Release Forms
- Adolescent Interview
- Declaration to Enforce Agreement to Parenting Evaluation
Table of Authorities
About the Authors
G. Andrew H. Benjamin, PhD, JD, has exceptional career features that are distinguished by the breadth of his professional activities and the strength of his commitment to combining the best resources of psychology and law for the benefit of adults and children enmeshed in family conflicts.
While working with families engaged in high-conflict litigation, he was named "Professional of the Year" by the Washington State Bar Association's Family Law Section. He was elected to serve as president of the Washington State Psychological Association, and later his colleagues created an award named after him for "outstanding and tireless contributions." He was honored by the Puyallup Nation's Health Authority for serving as a "modern-day warrior fighting the mental illnesses, drug-alcohol addictions" of the people served by the nation's program.
He has published 36 articles in psychology, law, and psychiatry journals and is the author of Law and Mental Health Professionals: Washington published by APA.
Andy lives in Seattle with his wife of 25 years and two children. His hobbies include extensive family travel and watching his son's and daughter's soccer teams.
Jackie K. Gollan, PhD, received her PhD with Distinction in 2000 from the University of Washington with training in both clinical research and forensic psychology. She finished her internship training in 2000 at Brown University Medical School and received the A.T. Beck and Brown University Medical School Award for original research in major depression, and was offered a National Institute of Mental Health F-32 grant funding to investigate the development of depression during divorce.
To complement her Parenting Evaluation Treatment Program training, Jackie completed a Harvard Medical School Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Forensic Psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital, with emphasis on custody/visitation disputes and child dependency/protection issues.
In 2001, she became a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago and obtained funding via a Young Investigator Award from the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. As director of the Center for Cognitive Therapy, her clinical research focuses on social and biological underpinnings of depression and the impact of both childhood adversity and divorce on adult adjustment.