Forensic Psychology Consultation in Child Custody Litigation: A Handbook for Work Product Review, Case Preparation, and Expert Testimony

Forensic Psychology Consultation in Child Custody Litigation: A Handbook for Work Product Review, Case Preparation, and Expert Testimony

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The first comprehensive examination of the increasingly important role of forensic psychologists in consulting and expert witness testimony in child custody litigation, this book offers practical advice on understanding the critical psychological dynamics often found in child custody cases as well as guidance in using your own forensic consultant and testifying expert in complex litigation. Authors Philip M. Stahl and Robert A. Simon are experienced forensic psychology consultants with a combined 50 years of experience, making them uniquely positioned to explain the process and roles of reviewers, consultants, and expert witnesses in contested custody cases. Throughout the book, they use case examples where critical issues such as the developmental need of children, relocation, domestic violence, and the alienated child are involved, providing a logical process to help you critique the evaluation reports of others and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Topics include the differences between forensic and clinical mental health professionals; evidentiary standards; consultation and testifying roles; development of a case theory; strategies for constructing questions in testimony; potential biases; ethics; and much more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614389927
Publisher: American Bar Association
Publication date: 06/10/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 472 KB

About the Author

Philip M. Stahl, PhD, ABPP (Forensic) is a board-certified forensic psychologist in private practice in Arizona, who conducts child custody examinations and provides consultation and expert witness testimony throughout the country.

Robert A. Simon, PhD, is a nationally recognized expert in forensic psychology consulting. Based in Del Mar, California, he consults with attorneys on child custody cases and provides expert witness testimony throughout the United States.

Table of Contents

About the Authors vii

Philip M. Stahl vii

Robert A. Simon viii

Acknowledgments xi

Dedication xiii


The Purpose of This Book xv

An Emerging Field xvi

Advantages and Disadvantages xvii

It Depends… xviii

Language Used in This Book xviii

A Final Note xix

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

The Role of Forensic Psychology Consultants 2

The Utilization of Forensic Psychology Consultants 3

The Context of Child Custody Litigation 4

Forensic Psychology: A Separate and Unique Discipline 8

Best Interests and Gatekeeping 10

Legal Framework for Consultants and Expert Witnesses 13

The Meaning of Opinion 14

The Bottom Line 15

Chapter 2 Forensic Approach Versus Clinical Approach 17

Child Custody Evaluations: Forensic and Clinical Approaches 18

Characteristics of Forensic Thinking Versus Clinical Thinking 21

Managing and Controlling for Bias 22

Differing Characteristics of the Forensic Role and the Clinical Role 24

The Bottom Line 31

Chapter 3 Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology Consultation 33

Applications of the American Psychological Association's Ethics Codes 35

Common Ethical Issues in Forensic Consulting 49

The Bottom Line 60

Chapter 4 Bias: Critical Elements to Consider in Forensic Consulting and Expert Testifying 63

Different Types of Bias 64

Strategies for Detecting Lack of Bias 74

Identifying and Dealing with the Influence of Biases 83

The Bottom Line 84

Chapter 5 Roles for Mental Health Professionals 85

Forensic Roles 87

Clinical Roles 95

Hybrid Roles (Clinical/Forensic Blend) 96

The Bottom Line 97

Chapter 6 Consulting and Testifying Roles 99

Consulting: Foundation in Child Custody Evaluations 100

Consulting Versus Testifying Roles 102

Identifying the Client 116

The Bottom Line 118

Chapter 7 Issues in Psychological Testing in Child Custody Litigation 119

Basic Concepts 121

Test Construction, Normalization, and Administration 123

Fundamental Issues in Test Use in Child Custody Evaluations 124

The Bottom Line 134

Chapter 8 Child Custody Evaluations: Elements and Critique 135

Key Components of a Quality Child Custody Evaluation 136

Steps in the Critique 144

After the Critique 147

Chapter 9 Evidentiary Standards for Expert Testimony 149

Federal Rules of Evidence 150

Prevailing Standards 151

The Bottom Line 160

Chapter 10 Development of the Case Theory 163

What Is a Case Theory? 164

Good Facts/Bad Facts 167

Consultant Assistance in Using the Case Theory to Guide the Case 171

Case Theory and Direct Examination and Cross-Examination Questions 175

The Bottom Line 176

Chapter 11 Constructing Questions for Direct Examination and Cross- Examination 177

Direct Examination 178

Cross-Examination 179

Preparation of Witnesses 179

Case Examples 180

The Bottom Line 188

Chapter 12 Other Mental Health Roles: Opportunities and Challenges 189

Adult Individual Therapists 190

Psychologist Evaluator/Psychiatrist/Vocational Evaluator 199

Parenting Coordinator 200

Chapter 13 Attorney-Mental Health Professional Relationships 203

Initial Phone Call 204

Preliminary Discussions 205

Contracts 207

To Meet, or Not to Meet, the Litigant Parent 211

Remaining Within Specific Roles 212

The Bottom Line 214

Index 215

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