Matrimonial/Family Court

Services:

Gang Of Youths Fighting-Comprehensive Psychological Evaluation with Narrative report

-OASAS Alcohol Drug Evaluation with Narrative report

-Standardized Personality Testing : (Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory-Second Edition (MMPI-II) (Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent (MMPI-A) (Millon Clinical Multi-Axial Inventory –Third Edition (MCMI-III)

-Standardized Risk Assessment: (Inventory of Offender, Risks, Needs Screening (IORNS)

-Individual Therapy

Group Educational Series

-Drug and Alcohol Group Educational Series

-Drug and Alcohol Individual Educational Series

-Anger management Training/Battered Awareness

-Parent Training (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP)

-Correspond With Probation Regarding Attendance and Progress in Treatment

Drug Urinalysis testing

-Alcohol Saliva testing

-Monthly written progress reports submitted to referring entity

Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory – 2

Required by Russian Law for International Adoption Process of Children who are Russian Nationals

CHILD CUSTODY STUDY AGREEMENT

MISSION STATEMENT: To provide the most thorough, professional and ethical psychological therapy and testing to all clients in order to achieve maximal results. During the break-up of a family, I provide quality service to interested parties and assist the court in making decisions about child custody, visitation, and parenting issues.

I cannot make decisions concerning custody. Rather, my purpose is to provide the court with an objective, third-party view of the family dynamic and to make recommendations. It is, of course, the responsibility of the court to make final decisions regarding custody matters. Therefore, it is my preference to be appointed by the court in providing the custody study.

The child custody team does not function in a treatment capacity. Its’ primary purpose is to make sound recommendations based on the child’s best interests.

The child custody study focuses on identification of parental strengths and weaknesses and the special needs of the children involved. The child custody study team is not an investigative body to prove or disprove allegations against either parent or individuals involved in the custody study. We do attempt to identify the issues that require further investigation. The proof of truth or veracity of allegations made is the responsibility of the principal parties and their attorneys.

Procedure:
To promote reliability and to provide a more complete view of the family situation, a team approach is typically used during the custody study. The team usually involves a psychologist and/or a social worker with training and experience in child psychology, family systems, psychological testing and custody evaluation procedures. We try to balance the time spent with each adult who is seeking custody. An attempt is also made to allow each adult to demonstrate their parenting capacities through a personal interview, psychological testing, third party endorsements and verifications, or by providing other relevant data.

The following procedures are described to give the participants an idea of what a typical custody evaluation entails. Since each case is unique, the assessment team reserves the right to tailor each evaluation to meet the unique needs and circumstances of a particular case.

Confidentiality is extremely important. It must be understood, however, that the intent of a custody study is to share information with the court and attorneys involved. Issues and concerns about parenting that are brought up by one party may be shared with other parties in the evaluation to obtain both sides of an issue.
Each party understands that they are responsible for identifying the issues that they feel best represent their concerns. Any concerns or question about confidentiality should be discussed with a custody study team member.

Typically, a child custody study involves individual interviews of the adults seeking custody with each custody study team member, an interview with the children alone, and interviews with the children and adults involved. Relevant records from other sources such as schools, mental health agencies, treating professions, the Department of Human Services, etc., are also reviewed. A custody evaluation may also include interviews and perhaps testing with other individuals such as fiancés, grandparents, or other people who may be involved in child care following the divorce.

Typically, a child custody study will involve each parent being present at a minimum of four different interviews and completing a battery of psychological tests. The children are also involved in the interviewing, and may also be requested to complete psychological testing. The typical custody study requires approximately 8-12 sessions to meet with a psychologist and several hours of additional time for completing the psychological testing and other questionnaire forms. To complete these activities, a four to six week time period is usually required. When seeking background information from schools, agencies, treating professionals, etc., release of information forms must be signed and sufficient time given for the agencies to respond. It has been our experience that such requests for records are often not responded to. Therefore, if there is data that you feel is especially relevant to your case, we recommend that you personally attain those records or ask that they be sent directly to us. Any concerns or questions about confidentiality should be discussed with a custody team member.

In some instances a random home visit may be conducted. This is done at the discretion of the child custody team. The fee for such a service is billed at the Forensic Rate and includes travel time to and from the destination as well as actual time spent in the home.

After the interviews, testing, and review of available documentation, a report is prepared that identifies the information collected and issues to consider in determining custody. This report will also contain recommendations for custody, visitation, and any mental health issues that need to be addressed. Copies of this final report are submitted to each of the attorneys involved, as well as to the court. Each party must understand and accept that the results of the evaluation could yield information that is not favorable to their position and that it could become part of a permanent court record.

Cost:
Prior to beginning a child custody evaluation, a retainer is required; depending on the services required; this retainer can range from $3,500 to $5,000. Services cannot begin until the cash advance is received in total. The advance fee is considered to be a pool of money from which to draw for the services that will be involved including; the evaluator’s time spent in interviewing, scoring, and evaluating tests, communicating with third-party agencies and professionals concerning background information, reviewing relevant materials and documents, and preparation of a final report. The fee for Forensic Services is $250 per hour. Any remaining balance will be refunded upon completion of the child custody evaluation. In some cases, the actual costs may exceed the retainer, and parties will be billed accordingly. All custody evaluation services are billed at the Forensic Services Rate and are to be paid within 30 days of rendering the bill.

The advance fee can also be used toward the cost of court appearances and travel time. The minimum charge for a court appearance is the cost of three hours of the evaluator’s scheduled time at the Forensic Hourly Rate, plus one hour of preparation time for that professional. Additional travel time and reserved schedule time is charged at the evaluator’s Forensic Hourly Rate.

Families are encouraged to not count on insurance reimbursements for child custody study services. Insurance companies do not reimburse for such services. If mental health issues are identified which require treatment after the custody study, these costs may be reimbursable by some private health insurance companies.

There are charges for no-show and late cancellations. The lost schedule time for no-shows and late cancellations will be charged at the full Forensic Hourly Rate. Cancellation for court appearances, which constitute large blocks of scheduling time, must be made at least one week in advance so that there is an opportunity to fill the scheduled time. Any unfilled schedule time due to such cancellations will be charged at the Forensic Hourly Rate. Three weeks advance notice is required for scheduled court appearances so that other patients in treatment will not have their appointments cancelled.

Some review of documentation is expected, but when large volumes of written material are submitted by families, the time required for review of these documents will be charged at the evaluator’s Forensic Hourly Rate.

The child custody team attempts to respond to scheduled court deadlines in a timely manner. The team, however, cannot be responsible for any family member’s lack of completion of testing or failure to keep appointments. In situations where a family member does not respond to requests for scheduled appointments, an incomplete report will be submitted to the court identifying the reasons for the incomplete nature of the child custody study so that the court is not delayed in its deliberations.

The evaluation team complies with ethical guidelines regarding confidentiality of information. All evaluators are also bound by state and federal laws for reporting child abuse and releasing information about the participants in the evaluation. Release of information forms must signed by the adults involved for themselves and their children. This permits our office to submit the study report to both attorneys and the court.

To avoid dual relationships during the child custody study, the evaluators involved cannot provide ongoing therapy to any of the individuals. If any of the individuals require psychotherapy during the time of the evaluation, they will be referred to another therapist so that objectivity and neutrality can be maintained.

You have the right to consult with your attorney on any issues related to this evaluation.

I have read the above contract and agree to participate fully with the conditions outlined in this document.

_______________________/_________ ___________________/__________
Signature of Parent/Date Signature of Parent/Date

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Forensic Evaluator Forensic Evaluator