Family Law Attorneys and Parenting Evaluators: Improving Professional Collaboration

    By Stacy Heard and Jennifer Wheeler

    Family Law Attorneys and Parenting Evaluators: Improving Professional Collaboration

    Family Law Attorneys and Parenting Evaluators: Improving Professional Collaboration

    By Stacy Heard and Jennifer Wheeler

    Giving attorneys insights and practical guidance on how to improve the collaboration between attorneys and parenting evaluators, this book examines all aspects of this collaboration. Looking at when this interaction occurs to the processes that can and should be implemented to prepare effective parenting plans for clients, the book also provides definitions of the roles of mental health professionals in parenting evaluations and the applicable laws and standards for each professional. See Table of Contents under the "Read More" section.

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    How does collaboration between attorneys and parenting evaluators really work, and how can this important process become more effective and efficient? Written by a family lawyer and a psychologist/parenting evaluator, this insightful book assists both the attorney and mental health professional working on family law cases better understand each other’s roles and objectives. The collaboration of these two professionals is often essential for having a family law case proceed. For example, some cases may require the involvement of a parenting evaluator (PE) before a parenting plan is entered, while others may require a parenting coordinator (PC) after the plan is entered.

    The book first provides definition and clarification about the roles of mental health professionals in family law settings and identifies how those roles are used by attorneys in litigating their cases. Psychologists play distinct roles in divorce and custody cases, including as evaluators of psychological functioning of children and parents, expert witnesses, litigation consultants, divorce coaches, and therapists.

    Offering insight and understanding about the underlying "rules" for conducting a parenting evaluation, the authors then provide a review of the sources of authority that govern the practice of forensic mental health assessment with a focus on parenting evaluations. This discussion covers relevant laws, professional standards and guidelines, and principles of ethical forensic practice.

    To help family law attorneys and parenting evaluations better understand each other's goals, the authors discuss the many opportunities for cooperation between the PE and the family law attorney throughout the parenting evaluation process. This understanding can result in improved communication and cooperation between professionals working in family law.

    Finally, the book looks at some of the consulting roles that a mental health professional might perform to assist family law attorneys. While these roles are different from the role of the PE, the book provides information on what services are available and how attorneys can work with mental health professionals in addition to PEs.

    Throughout each of the book’s four sections, the authors provide tips as quick reference guides for attorneys. In addition, there are ten appendices of sample forms included with the book and available online for download. These forms include a sample order appointing a PE, questionnaires, fee statement, structured child interview, and more.

    Table of Contents
    Part I: Professional Roles in Family Law Cases: Definitions and Differences
    Part II: Sources of Authority
    Part III: Professional Cooperation
    Part IV: Other Professional Roles in Family Law Matters
    Appendix A: Order Appointing Parenting Evaluator
    Appendix B: Policy Statement and Orientation to Parenting Evaluations
    Appendix C: Fee Statement--Parenting Examinations
    Appendix D: Parent Background Questionnaire
    Appendix E: Informed Consent to Participate in the Forensic Examination Process
    Appendix F: Interview for Informed Consent: Forensic Services
    Appendix G: Collateral Contact Form
    Appendix H: Authorization to Release and/or Exchange Information
    Appendix I: Structured Child Interview
    Appendix J: Example Parenting Coordinator Order

    Product Details


    Jennifer Wheeler, Stacy Heard


    Section of Family Law


    ABA Book Publishing



    Page Count


    Product Code


    Trim Size

    6 x 9 Paperback

    Publication Date

    11/8/2019 12:00:00 AM

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