Monday, December 29, 2008

Points on a Pyschological Evaluation for a Relocation Case

I find some good points and several things to think about in the Utah County Psychological Assessment's Relocation Child Custody Cases:

"Here are some of the important points that need to be covered in a child custody evaluation that deals with relocation. Age of child (infants and toddlers will forget the noncustodial parent and not form good attachment with them if they move) but elementary age children and teenagers seem to adjust better. It is not the frequency of visits with the noncustodial parent that is important, but the total amount of time and the quality of that time with them. Children do better if the custodial parent encourages visiting time with the noncustodial parent and makes it happen. There are many harms associated with relocation and several risk factors like parental psychopathology, child's previous poor adjustment to stressors, and increased rates of not graduating from high school, teen pregnancy, and other adjustment problems. However, there are also protective factors that can modulate or mitigate these harms. The most important protective factor is the relationship with the residential parent. Another is how often they are able to see their non-residential parent (more quality contact is better). Also, their ability to quickly develop new 'social capital' in the new location helps mitigate harm. Some important authors to read in this area are William Austin and Joan Lamb."
I see in this paragraph a way to deal with Indiana's relocation statute and our Baxendale case. Psychological evaluations have been little used here - the costs to the client and our local economy have made them a bit out of reach for most - and I am not so happy about the one sitting on my desk. (I am put off by tepidness of the recommendation - it leaves to the court the making a decision of what is in the child's best interests. The actual evaluation is good for my client, but for the cost we would have liked a knockout punch. Such is the practice of law.) For those who can afford the cost, a psychological evaluation may be more than useful. Something to think about.

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