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Psychological Assessments and Custody

Psychological Assessments in Custody Cases

Psychological Assessments and Custody

January 22, 2024

By Johnson/Turner Legal

Psychological Assessments and Custody

January 22, 2024

By Johnson/Turner Legal

Psychological Assessments in Custody Cases: Key Considerations

The Role of Parental Evaluation in Custody Decisions

In divorce and custody cases, courts must thoroughly assess each parent’s ability to provide a nurturing environment for their child. Central to custody decisions is determining the child’s best interests, a process that encompasses various factors, including the mental and physical health of the parents. In some cases, concerns about a parent’s mental health may lead to requests for psychological evaluations. Psychological assessments can be used in custody cases.

Minnesota’s Approach to Psychological Testing

When a court in Minnesota approves a motion for psychological testing, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is commonly used. This test aims to identify psychological disorders and evaluate cognitive functioning. However, it’s important to note that the MMPI doesn’t determine parenting capabilities. The test covers a range of aspects, from emotional dysfunction to traits like antisocial behavior and impulse control. The Personality Assessment Inventory is another tool often used alongside the MMPI, focusing on clinical scales such as sleep disorders, paranoia, and substance abuse issues. These assessments collectively provide the court with insights into each parent’s ability to create a stable and nurturing environment for the child.

Considerations Before Requesting a Psychological Assessment

Parents contemplating a psychological examination request should be mindful of several factors:

  1. Costs: Psychological assessments can be expensive, often reaching thousands of dollars, and are typically paid by the requesting party.
  2. Reciprocal Testing: If one parent requests an evaluation, they should expect to undergo a similar assessment.
  3. Good Faith Requests: It’s crucial to request evaluations in good faith. Courts do not look favorably upon parents using these assessments to intimidate or harass the other party.

Seeking Legal Guidance for Psychological Evaluations

Determining the necessity and potential impact of a psychological assessment in your case requires expertise. Our law firm has extensive experience assisting clients in making informed decisions about psychological evaluations in custody cases. If you’re considering this step, contact us at (320) 299-4249 for a consultation to discuss the best strategy for your situation.


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