Domestic And Family Areas Covered By A Psychiatric Expert Witness
The role of the Expert Forensic Psychiatrists in domestic issues such as child custody is challenging and complex with the need for appropriate evaluations rising higher. The impact of a divorce on both children and parents can be a contributing factor for future psychological evaluations and treatments.
The Psychiatric Expert Witness may be asked to give an evaluation related to child custody at various points in the divorce proceedings as well as asked to offer opinions on visitation schedules and the need for psychiatric treatment to cope with the situation. As the standard of the "best interests of the child" is the primary directive in any custody situation, a large part of the Expert Forensic Psychiatrist‘s evaluation will consist of a series of interviews. Gathering information from a variety of sources and from the child in a variety of settings may be essential parts of the evaluation.
The Expert Forensic Psychiatrist is usually requested to organize his findings and recommendations for custody in a written report. Because of the legal education and experience of the Psychiatric Expert Witness, there is always the awareness that what is written in the report is not confidential and can be used as evidence.
Special issues can arise from custody hearings that require the services of an Expert Forensic Psychiatrist including joint custody, father custody, gay and lesbian parents, mentally ill parents, grandparents, allegations of abuse and parental kidnapping.