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Mental Health Assessments


Mental health professionals are utilized to conduct assessments for individuals and families in civil and criminal court cases. The assessments required by the courts/lawyers are known as forensic assessment; assessing either medical, psychiatric or psychological wellness to assist the court in its deliberations. While treatment issues may emerge in the assessment process, the primary purpose is legal and not medical or psychological.


A mental health professional conducting a forensic mental health assessment can serve a valuable role in child custody cases. They conduct custody evaluations, assist attorneys in understanding psychological issues, and help clients present an accurate version of their selves to the Court. Judges look to such experts to provide insightful information that makes testimony clearer, as well as help the parties better understand the needs of the children. In some cases, a forensic mental health professional (FMHP) can play a mediator role and help parents avoid costly litigation by enabling them to work together to make their own parenting plans.


A mental health professional conducting a forensic assessment can be obtained to hold any of the following roles:

(1) court appointed, neutral evaluator; (2) case-blind didactic expert, who only provides information about research without having reviewed any case related documents; (3) testifying, evaluating expert hired by one side to conduct an evaluation; and (4) work product reviewer, hired by one side, who, after having completed a review, testifies to his/her assessment of the work reviewed.


Regardless of the role, FMHPs must be attuned to what is in the best interest of the children, abiding by professional code of ethics and licensing boards.


Parents who are separated/divorced benefit from having a parenting plan to collaboratively decide on critical decisions including how to co-parent, visitations, responsibilities, etc. Custody and visitation plan would be signed by both parties and provide to the courts to be enforced by a judge.


All plans are tailored to each family's unique circumstances, respectfully considering the family's autonomy, culture and diversities; their safety and well being, the applicable laws, and mental wellness of the involved parties accordingly.

Contact Dr. Arias Shah if you have any questions @ 888-995-ENSO (3676) !

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