Within the field of expert psychology, psychologists are becoming increasingly important in legal proceedings, helping to clarify and explain any behavioral patterns or internal psychological processes that may be essential to clarify the facts that are judged.
One of the areas where the performance of a forensic psychologist is of great importance is in custody and custody processes, in which expert reports are written to prove the ability or inability to educate, care for and bring up children who present their parents to their parents. whether or not they will be granted custody of the cubs.
To carry out their role in this type of process, forensic psychologists have a fundamental resource when it comes to providing information relevant to trials: the counter-experts and the evaluative analysis of an expert report.
What is an expert report?
The expert report is one of the essential tools in the field of forensic psychologybecause it makes it possible to provide information making it possible to enrich the framework from which the behavior of a mother or a father is interpreted in a trial.
More specifically, expert reports are scientific and impartial documents prepared by experts in expert psychology who are experts in the subject matter, which set out the conclusions of a series of investigations focusing on the psychological characteristics of a person, information that can help the judge make a decision one way or another.
The expert report itself is not a document used to discuss how a legal case should be resolved, only provides data on some of the aspects to consider. In other words, the psychologists assigned to perform these tasks do not act in favor of the person who hires them and do not assume a role similar to that of a lawyer.
These types of professional assessments are carried out by the psychosocial team of the court concerned or by a private expert mandated by one of the two parents who are in the middle of the legal process. These experts should always have a background in psychology.
In any event, all conclusions, tests, test results, reports and statements contained therein must be duly substantiated and made on the basis of the scientific method.
In the event that an expert’s report contains flagrant failings, methodological deficiencies or poorly argued conclusions, a cross-examination is generally carried out by the aggrieved parent.
What is guardianship?
The forensic examination is the tool available to forensic psychologists to objectively assess the content of an expert report prepared in advance and, in the event that it contains decisions of any kind, provide all the evidence necessary for the judge in the case.
The aim is not to completely refute everything that another expert has said in his report (although this can happen), but to clarify certain aspects of his content and to provide relevant information that helps to understand the limits of this study and to have a realistic and detailed picture of the extent of what can be inferred from what is observed.
In legal proceedings on child custody, this type of research can provide important information to have a global and clear view of a person’s parenting skills, avoiding the fact that only one of the parties has contributed to it. in resolving the case.
There are many reasons why a report is usually written from an expert report, however, the elements which are particularly taken into account are the following:
- Review how the assessment was conducted.
- Comment on the inference process that was performed to move from facts to conclusions.
- Comment on the validity of the interviews or whether they are necessary to arrive at the conclusions contained in the report.
- Constructive criticism of methodological aspects.
- Make observations on the causal link or not of the facts contained in the expert report.
Counter-expertise and evaluative analysis of an expert report
Conducting a forensic examination is one of the most effective strategies for assessing the validity of an expert report. it is often necessary to carry out an additional evaluation of the expert report.
The two reports may be similar, but they contain notable differences that should be well understood in any custody process.
While the counter-expert generally focuses on the more technical and formal aspects of a pre-prepared psychological expert report, the evaluative analysis is generally a report that provides more specific and detailed information to help the judge to make his decision. Rather than detecting and highlighting potential failures or limitations of a report, it helps to have a clear view of the abovefocusing more on content than on formal aspects and making sure your most important ideas are clear (as well as issues that are not yet entirely clear from the information available so far).
The main elements taken into account in an evaluative analysis developed by experts in expert psychology are:
The limitations that a specific statement in the expert report may have.
Provide arguments to help a judge understand and correctly interpret the technical terms used in the expert report.
Clearly explain which aspects are subjective interpretations and which are objective conclusions.
Clarify some findings.
Highlight ideas that were discussed in the original report, and which may not have been highlighted, since they are sometimes essential to granting or removing custody from a parent.
Highlight the most important data for the interests of those involved in the forensic procedure, even if it is not about contradictions or negative aspects.
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In Azor & Associates We have extensive experience preparing shadow reports and expert reports on topics such as liability, parenting competence, assessment of disabilities and/or sequelae, and more.