Being a forensic psychologist in child custody cases consists of performing services while acting as a neutral evaluator. This includes conducting interviews not just with the children or parents but sometimes with extended family members as well. From this angle of an unbiased observer, the forensic psychologist is responsible for gathering all the information needed to make a well-informed determination on the best way forward with the children’s care.
Making sure it’s what’s best for the kids
Part of the forensic psychologist’s job is to keep things centered on what the children need. These behavioral health professionals pay close attention to how the children are acting, look for subtle clues, and call attention to issues where needed.
The needs of the children are at the center of their work. A forensic psychologist is highly valuable in child custody evaluations because they ensure that the children’s best interests are the focal point, and they do all they can to make sure the ruling reflects that.
Warring litigants and forgotten children
The parents in these custody cases tend to have more to deal with mentally and emotionally than anyone can be reasonably expected to, so it’s understandable that they tend to have a more self-oriented perspective. They may be thinking more about how they’re presenting themselves in court – and making sure to discredit their ex-spouse sufficiently. This is often out of fear that it’s the only way to guarantee a ruling in their favor, but it tends to completely distract from what the children are going through.
A forensic psychologist acts like something of a communication bridge between the litigants and the judge. It’s often impossible for a judge to get the full picture of a divided family’s situation in such a limited time frame. The forensic psychologists make observations and provide the judge with their expert opinion on how custody and visitation should be arranged.