Divorces and separations are particularly difficult not only for the couple but also for the children. During these breakups, underage children must decide which parent they want to spend more time with, and sometimes the situation forces them to make that choice in the context of legal proceedings. But not all variables have to do with children’s personal decisions.
If all separations do not end in a conflict, it happens more than once that the breakup is not friendly and this means that the decision of who has custody of the son or daughter involves recourse to lawyers and to the courts.
Expert psychology takes on particular importance in the face of the phenomenon of withdrawal from custody, being that branch of psychology that assesses the ability of the father or mother to exercise sole or shared custody. Let’s look at its importance and what aspects are taken into account during childcare decision-making processes.
Expert psychology in the event of withdrawal from custody
Divorce or separation proceedings are a consequence of the deterioration of the relationship of two spouses who, after not having found a solution to the relationship, choose to end it by resorting to judicial termination. This process affects not only the relationship, but also the children together if there are any.
In fact, the impact of separation or divorce also falls directly on them, also becoming the subject of litigation as there is often a conflict of interest on which both parents remain in police custody.
Parental divorce means that children have to adjust to a new environment, new homes, and even see how their parents’ parenting style changes due to the stress of the process and the over-saturation it brings. double. The family nucleus changes and represents a great alteration on the emotional level of everyone involved.
Often the breakup of the parents is not friendly and a difficult and stressful legal process begins in which it is necessary to decide which parent is most appropriate to have custody of the children, whether in single parent or shared custody. . keep. Expert psychology in the event of removal from detention is essential for the resolution and decision of which father should have custody of his child and, in case you lost it, get it back later.
The expert report
When parents fail to come to a custody agreement, they often turn to forensic and expert psychologists, both directly and through their lawyers, to understand what elements can win them the case for. custody, or what expert evidence is possible.
It also happens that, after the conclusions of a psychosocial report made to both parents are known, an exclusive custody regime is assigned, that is to say that custody is incumbent on a single parent. The parent who does not agree with this decision, who is usually the one who does not have custody, has as evidence against a report stating that he does not meet the conditions to have your child, that is why custody was withdrawn.
When removing custody, the non-custodial parent turns out to need to file a modification of measures, and his ally (or enemy too) may be psychological expertise in the context of a divorce or separation, only requested by a judge or by the lawyer of the father concerned. This expert report assesses the possibility of shared custody, parenting ability or even an assessment of minors to find any evidence that the non-custodial parent should have some degree of custody or not.
Expert psychological reports on removal of custody are very useful, as whether or not they serve the parent dissatisfied with the court’s decision to regain custody or not, these reports serve to examine the family context and identify the most appropriate measures to be taken by the court in charge of the separation or divorce case..
Such reports can also be made with minors. In divorce and separation proceedings, psychological assessments of the child can be provided if he deems it necessary and, moreover, it must be said that the authorization of both parents is not required, whatever the custody plan they have. Sure they must be informed that your son or daughter will be assessed, as specified in article 42 of the Code of ethics of psychologists:
“When this evaluation or intervention has been requested by another person – judges, teaching professionals, parents, employers, or any other requester other than the subject being evaluated – the latter or his parents or guardians will have the right to do so. be informed. of the assessment or intervention and of the recipient of the consequent psychological report ”.
Key aspects assessed in cases of withdrawal from detention
Sometimes conflicts between parents precipitate legal proceedings in which normally only one can be assessed.
In these cases, what is usually done is a parenting proficiency or parenting suitability report, the purpose of which is to determine the presence or absence of a problem or dysfunction on the part of the parent being assessed that may affect the appropriate care and development of the child for those who show an interest in acquiring custody, also analyzing their ability to exercise maternal or paternal capacities.
It is also through these tests that it is necessary to rule out whether the evaluated individual seeks to show the expert psychologist a distorted image of himself, to assess whether he seeks to simulate and disguise the traits of personality, trying to portray positively instead of being honest and true.
In other words, parenting ability reports show the parenting abilities of the parent assessed using empirical evidence and establishing whether or not he is a good parent.
To do this, it must have been done beforehand a thorough and thorough investigation and assessment of the parent and / or minor involved:
- Interviews with parent and child (both experts).
- Interviews outside the home if necessary.
- Application of psychological evaluation tests of an empirical nature.
- Perform a comprehensive analysis of all the information provided.
Once the psychological expert report is completed, it will provide key information that will help the court to make the most appropriate decision, always thinking and prioritizing the best interests of the child (ISM). The report in question will expose the psychological state of the parent and, depending on what is far or close to what is considered to be the characteristics and behavioral style of a good parent, whether or not he will have custody of his child, both single-parent and shared.
In this report, it is observed whether the evaluated parent exhibits / displays the following strengths:
- Manage your emotions and have developed skills to take care of yourself.
- Ability to direct and control children’s learning.
- Ability to establish disciplinary guidelines in the form of rules and habits to prepare children for life in society.
- Knowledge to improve children’s ability to have good nutrition, hygiene and safety.
- Be careful and protect children from any risk to the environment.
- Communicate effectively: show confidence, show humor, empathy …
The other aspects evaluated are:
- Presence of psychopathology that prevents adequate care of children.
- Degree of adaptation to different areas of life as well as adjustment after separation / divorce.
- Parenting style or parenting skills.
That is, during the production and presentation of the report, the existence or absence of dysfunctions in the parent is examined and the type of profile that this individual presents as a caregiver is established. The presence or absence of positive protective factors in detention is also analyzed., and the court is informed about the functionality of the kernel family.
When it has not been possible to make an expertise on the psychological state of the parent who wants to see if he is fit to have custody of his son or daughter, other channels are used to see the state of the child suitability as a parent. Here the emphasis is placed on the level of income, the working hours compatible with the children’s schedule, the proximity or distance from the other parent’s home, evidence that has shown interest in their children (birthday organization, attendance at school meetings, AMPA, excursions, etc.).
Psychological assessment of the child: psychological assessment of the child
As we have mentioned, a psychological assessment of minors involved in a separation case can also be carried out. When this evaluation is performed, the procedure is as follows:
- Psychopathological exploration is reported.
- The child’s personality models are analyzed.
- The pre- and post-parental breakup adaptation is assessed.
In addition to the realization of these points which we have just evoked, it will be the same for any other factor which could be related to the object of the report, in the case where only the minor is seen and not the parent. .
It is also the task of the expert in psychology applied in police custody cases to be able to propose to the court a series of recommendations considered interesting or necessary to improve the adaptation and emotional well-being of one of the experts.
These recommendations are, as a rule, of a therapeutic nature, recommending to consult a psychologist specializing in the mental disorder that has been observed in the parent or minor in the event of anger management therapy if there were any problems to be controlled. that. emotion.
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- Echeburúa, E., Muñoz, JM, & Loinaz, I. (2011). Forensic psychological assessment versus clinical assessment: proposals and future challenges. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 11 (1): p. 141-159.
- Horcajo, PJ, & Dujo, V. (2017). Psychological expert report: Parenting skills and psychological assessment of a minor in a suspected case of parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Forensic and Forensic Clinical Psychopathology, 17 (1): p. 126-143.