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Attorney's Guide to Child Custody Evaluations  

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This basic-to-intermediate level seminar is designed for: Attorneys, Paralegals, Guardians Ad Litem/Children's Attorneys, Social Workers and Mental Health Professionals

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Seminar Summary:

This interdisciplinary full-day event gives you an opportunity to hear what evaluators themselves look for, and maximize your chances of a favorable evaluation. (see full course description)

 

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Training Course Syllabus:


Attorney's Guide to Child Custody Evaluations - Divorce/Custody Seminar

Get the Insider Information You Need to Make Custody Evaluations Work for You

In the pressing majority of cases involving a custody evaluation, the judge rules in accordance with its recommendations. This interdisciplinary full-day event gives you an opportunity to hear what evaluators themselves look for, and maximize your chances of a favorable evaluation. Find out what key elements of the evaluation research hold the most weight in the final report, and get tips for properly preparing the clients and using or contesting the evaluation in court. Sharpen your skills – register today!

  • Hear custody evaluators and attorneys share their tactics when working on custody evaluations.
  • Walk through the key elements and timeline of a typical evaluation.
  • Learn how to prepare clients for home visits and interviews in order to put them in the best light without making it look staged.
  • Get tips from mental health professionals on dealing with clients who have personality disorders.
  • Understand what role family history plays in the evaluation.
  • Compare legal and medical ethics when protecting confidentiality and make certain you're in compliance.
  • Review a sample report and learn to accurately interpret the information it provides.
  • Recognize when a custody evaluation is not the best option for your client and how to avoid it or contest the results.
  • Get sample questions seasoned attorneys use in direct and cross-examination to effectively present the evaluation report to the judge.


  1. First Steps and Major Concepts
    9:00 - 10:00, Lori A. Zocolo
    1. Finding and Qualifying an Evaluator
    2. Court Orders and Other Ways to Ensure Cooperation
    3. Key Elements and a Sample Timeline of an Evaluation
    4. American Psychological Association (APA) and Association of Family and Conciliation Courts(AFCC) Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations
    5. Applying “Best Interest” Standards
  2. Ethics
    10:00 - 11:00, Ellen S. Mandell
    1. Client/Lawyer Relationship
    2. Researching and Preventing Conflicts of Interest
    3. Communication with Adverse Party
    4. When Your Client is Dishonest or Abusive
    5. Attorneys' Fees
    6. Handling an Ethics Complaint/Grievance
  3. The Do's and Don'ts of Preparing Clients for Interviews and Home Visit
    11:15 - 12:00, Pamela J. MacAdams
    1. Home Visit
    2. Child Interviews
    3. Parent Questionnaire and Interviews
    4. Tips for Dealing with Clients with Personality Disorders
  4. Attorney's Perspective
    1:00 - 2:00, Sarah J. Gabinet
    1. Alternatives to Custody Evaluation
      1. Mediation
      2. Supervised Visitation
      3. Graduated Access Arrangement
    2. What to do with Damaging Affidavits?
    3. Providing Deposition Transcripts vs. Relying on Evaluator Interviews
    4. To Submit or Not to Submit a Parent's Personal Diary
  5. Tools of the Evaluator – Other Information Used in the Report
    2:00 - 3:15, Dr. John Matthew Fabian
    1. Sample Timeline of an Evaluation
      1. Initial Contact
      2. Referral Path
      3. Expected Scope of Work
      4. Conflicts
      5. Availability
      6. Accessibility
    2. Psychological Testing
      1. When it's Used
      2. Common Types of Tests
        1. Achievement/Aptitude Tests
        2. Occupational Tests
        3. Intelligence Tests
        4. Neuropsychological Tests
        5. Personality Tests
      3. MMPI2 (Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory) – Most Common Test Used
    3. Uncovering Family History
    4. Addressing Past Mental Health History
    5. Narrative of Parents' Relationship Timeline – Hers and His
    6. Sample Evaluation Report
  6. Custody Evaluations in the Courtroom
    3:30 - 4:30, Denise N. Rini
    1. Interpreting the Report
    2. Direct Examination of the Evaluator
    3. Cross Examination of the Evaluator
    4. Contesting Unfavorable Evaluation

Seminar Summary:

This interdisciplinary full-day event gives you an opportunity to hear what evaluators themselves look for, and maximize your chances of a favorable evaluation. (see full course description)

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