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Understanding the role of a forensic psychologist in a child custody case

On Behalf of | May 12, 2023 | Child Custody

Forensic psychologists are sometimes used for custody cases in New Jersey. Parents and courts work with these specialists to achieve an optimal custody arrangement for the child or children involved.

Who they evaluate

Forensic psychologists may evaluate everyone who is heavily involved in the lives of the children in the case. This typically includes both parents and any other primary caregivers. For example, it may include both biological parents and stepparents if they are all the primary caregivers for the child or children involved. Forensic psychologists interview children as well if they are old enough. However, in cases with children who are very young or infants, the forensic psychologist focuses on the main caregivers or parents.

What they evaluate

In child custody cases, forensic psychologists want to learn more about the personalities of each person they interview. They look at parenting styles, strengths and weaknesses of parents or caregivers. Also, they consider the quality of relationships parents foster with their kids. Forensic psychologists may conduct testing and analysis to understand each parent’s mental health better. Combining all the information they collect, they can share their findings from the analysis with legal representatives or judges.

When forensic psychologists are used

If there is a custody case involving any allegations of physical or sexual abuse of the child, neglect or another serious danger, a forensic psychologist may be called to help. Forensic psychologists may also be used in cases involving mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence between partners or similar issues.

Forensic psychologists are not involved in every custody case. When they are involved, it is important for all parties to cooperate with them.