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Mental Health Experts in Child Custody Cases
(provided by Stann W. Givens, Esq.)

There is nothing more important than the welfare of your children. When you are headed for a breakup of your relationship with the children's other parent, whether it be a divorce or a paternity situation, there are some steps you can take to protect your children. Among these steps is the involvement of a mental health professional.

The first involvement could be as a couples therapist to see if you can save the relationship. If that does not work, or if you are just not interested in that, you could involve a mental health expert in counseling your children to help them understand that they are not at fault in the breakup and that they are going to be ok.

If the parenting arrangement for the children becomes a contested matter, your expert divorce lawyer can successfully use a mental health professional as a witness in the trial. No matter how many friends and relatives you present to the judge to tell what a good parent you are, the impact on the judge's decision will not be as effective as presenting a mental health expert to tie the testimony together.

The mental health expert can speak with your witnesses or hear from you a summary of what they are going to say. The expert can also speak with your children and may wish to speak to anyone who has counseled the children. Depending on the age of the children, there can be psychological testing of the children that can be evaluated by the expert. In certain circumstances, there can be psychological testing of the parents that can be similarly evaluated. The expert can tie all of this together and, with authority, paint the picture for the judge as to why your time sharing plan should be adopted for the children.

Even in cases where there is more collaboration between the separating parents, a mental health expert can be used as a parenting coordinator to assist the couple in working out a schedule that is best for the children.

Bottom line: Talk to your Florida divorce lawyer about how a mental health expert can be used to help you accomplish what is in the best interest of your children.

(copyright Stann Givens 2009)

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Stann W. Givens, Esq. located at

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