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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Use and Misuse of Mental Health Professionals in Custody Cases

By Stephen Gassman and David A. Martindale
New York Law Journal
Originally published August 29, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

As is evident from the decision, the trial court found the mother misused numerous mental health professionals in pursuit of her goal of cutting the father out of the child's life. While accepting the evaluator's findings and most of his conclusions concerning the mother's ongoing alienation, the court did not adopt the evaluator's specific recommendation on the ultimate issue of what custodial arrangement would serve the child's best interests.

The court carefully delineated its reasons for so doing, articulating those facts of which the evaluator had been unaware. Particularly noteworthy is the court's statement that one of the "salient facts revealed during the course of the Hearing" and, therefore, unknown to the evaluator, was that the mother had "received extensive—over 50 hours—of preparation for her forensic interview…from…Dr. Jonathan Gould," a well-known forensic consultant from North Carolina. Justice Colangelo stated that this intensive preparation was "to the detriment of [the mother's] position…." in terms of assessing credibility.

The entire article is here.