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Who should attend Effective Use of Custody Evaluations in Divorce
This basic-to-intermediate level seminar is designed for: Attorneys, Paralegals, Guardians Ad Litem, Childrens Attorneys, Social Workers and Mental Health Professionals involved in custody evaluations.
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Effective Use of Custody Evaluations in Divorce  

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This basic-to-intermediate level seminar is designed for: Attorneys, Paralegals, Guardians Ad Litem, Childrens Attorneys, Social Workers and Mental Health Professionals involved in custody evaluations.

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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:


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 for working with custody evaluations.
  • Walk though the key elements and timeline of a typical evaluation.
  • Learn how to prepare clients for home visits and interviews to put them in the best light without making it look fake.
  • Get tips from mental health professionals on dealing with clients with personality disorders.
  • Understand what role family history plays in the evaluation.
  • Add a new tool to the toolbox: learn how to use brief/targeted custody evaluations in custody disputes.
  • Compare legal and medical ethics in 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 - 9:45, Julie Bishop
    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
  2. Attorney's Perspective
    9:45 - 10:30, Brian L. Shoemaker
    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
  3. The Do's and Don'ts of Preparing Clients for Interviews and Home Visit
    10:45 - 11:30, Julie Bishop
    1. Home Visit
    2. Child Interviews
    3. Parent Questionnaire and Interviews
    4. Tips for Dealing with Clients with Personality Disorders
  4. Tools of the Evaluator – Other Information Used in the Report
    11:30 - 12:30, Samuel Roll
    1. 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
    2. Uncovering Family History
    3. Addressing Past Mental Health History
    4. Narrative of Parents' Relationship Timeline – Hers and His
    5. Sample Evaluation Report
  5. Narrow-Scope, Targeted Custody Evaluations
    1:30 - 2:15, Brian L. Shoemaker
    1. Court Orders with Referral Questions
    2. Common Topics (When to Use)
    3. Focused Custody Evaluations vs. Full-Scale Evaluations: Pros and Cons
  6. Ethics
    2:30 - 3:30, Brian L. Shoemaker
    1. Medical vs. Legal Ethics
    2. Appropriate Client Contact
    3. Mandatory and Voluntary Withdrawal of Legal Representation
    4. Protecting Confidentiality
  7. Custody Evaluations in the Courtroom
    3:30 - 4:30, Melanie J. Rhodes and Samuel Roll
    1. Interpreting the Report
    2. Mock Examination of the Evaluator
    3. Contesting Unfavorable Evaluation
    4. Q & A

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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