Child custody disputes in Massachusetts can sometimes turn into a bitter legal battle, especially when one co-parent is determined to deny custody or visitation rights to the other. The family law courts in Massachusetts will make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child standard.
If the court finds that one parent is mentally unfit or facing psychological problems which limit their ability to care for the child or put the child at risk, it may decide to give sole custody to the other parent. In some cases, the court may order supervised visitation to ensure the child’s safety.
In Massachusetts, your ex can petition to a family law court demanding a psychological evaluation to challenge your custody claim. Based on this, your ex cannot force you to undergo this type of mental health evaluation, and the court will make an independent decision based on the merit of the petitioner’s argument.
Highly-rated Massachusetts child custody lawyer Jay Davis leads a team of dedicated and compassionate attorneys at Davis Law Group who will fight hard to protect your rights, whether you are seeking a psych evaluation of your ex, or facing a demand for mental health evaluation from your ex. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to learn more about your rights in this matter.
What is a Psychological Evaluation in Custody Cases?
Under Massachusetts Domestic Relations Procedure Rule 35, the family law court may issue an order of mental health examination of a person. The order will specify the time, place, conditions, manner and scope of such examination as well as identify the physician or another mental health professional that will perform the examination.
Depending on the circumstances, the court may even order the psychological evaluation of both parents in order to determine their fitness to raise the child. In every case, the court will first satisfy itself that the parent’s mental condition poses a risk to the child before ordering such evaluation. The goal of the psych evaluation may be to identify substance abuse issues, a history of child neglect, child abuse, or abusive behavior that puts the child in danger.
Psychological evaluations in custody cases in Massachusetts may include multiple tests to assess “parental fitness.” While some trained evaluators may choose to visit the parent’s home, others may decide to individually meet with the parent as well as the child. The evaluator may also observe interactions between the child and the parent, or seek external opinions on specific areas of concern.
If your ex is planning to petition for your psychological evaluation in an attempt to deny custody or visitation, you should immediately consult with Massachusetts child custody attorney Jay Davis to know your legal options. At Davis Law Group, we are committed to protecting your and your child’s rights in custody cases, no matter whether you are seeking or facing a psych evaluation. Speak to us today and schedule your free consultation with our legal team.
Is a Psychological Evaluation the Final Word in Determining Child Custody?
If the family law court in Massachusetts orders a psychological evaluation, you will have to comply with it or you will be at the risk of being held in contempt of court. In any case, you should have our seasoned divorce lawyers at Davis Law Group on your side so that we can fight for your rights and guide you at every step.
Psychological evaluations are often highly subjective and not the final word in determining custody. The final decision lies with the judge. Our lawyers, led by attorney Jay Davis, will do everything possible to present strong evidence that counters the evaluator’s report (if the report is adverse).
We may also obtain expert opinions from independent evaluators, physical and mental health records from your doctor, and testimonials from your trusted family and friends to support your claim of parental fitness. When good cause is present, we may also demand a psych evaluation of the other co-parent.
Mental Health Issues are Often Treatable
In one child custody case in Massachusetts, the court decided to award custody to the mother once she showed proof that she was successfully dealing with her depression. So, when the co-parent is proactive about seeking medical treatment and diligently follows the prescribed therapy and medications, the court may view these facts in a favorable light and award custody once the mental health issues are resolved and parental fitness of the co-parent is restored.
Get the Leading Child Custody Lawyers in Massachusetts on Your Side
Child custody issues sometimes have the potential to bring out the worst in people. Our goal at Davis Law Group is to help ensure that your rights as well as your child’s best interests are upheld under all circumstances. Our experienced child custody lawyer Jay Davis will fight for your rights, whether you are facing the prospect of a psychological evaluation or you wish to have your ex undergo this evaluation. Contact us today at 617-221-3548 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
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