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Are Psychological Evaluations Used in Illinois Child Custody Cases?

Posted on in Family Law

Crystal Lake Child Custody AttorneyMental health can be a touchy subject, especially when it is in the context of a legal proceeding such as a child custody dispute. If you are getting divorced or you are in the midst of a child custody case, you may have questions about how mental health evaluations or psychological testing could impact your case. Can you require the other party to undergo psychological testing? What happens if your soon-to-be ex-spouse asks you to undergo mental health evaluations? How do the results of these tests impact the outcome of the case? Who pays for psychological testing?

Understanding Mental Health Evaluations in an Illinois Family Law Case

Sometimes, a parent requests psychological testing because he or she is sincerely worried that the other parent’s mental health problems or substance abuse will impact his or her parenting ability. Other times, a parent requests psychological testing as a tactical move. Fortunately, Illinois courts only permit psychological evaluations when there is a genuine need for such an assessment. Furthermore, the party requesting the psychological evaluation is the one who pays for the service  - and professional mental health assessments are not inexpensive. The court ultimately has the discretion to deny or uphold a parent’s mental health evaluation request.

Court Ordered Mental Health Examinations

In any case regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time, the court’s main concern is the child’s best interests. When determining what is in the child’s best interests, the court will consider each parent’s health as well as their ability and willingness to meet the child’s needs. Sometimes, a judge will order a mental health evaluation to gather more information about a parent’s mental state and any mental illnesses he or she has.

Mental health evaluations are often performed by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker. The evaluation may include interviewing the parent, observing the parent’s behavior, and psychological tests such as intelligence tests or personality tests. Tests designed to test a parent’s parenting abilities and attitudes such as the Parenting Stress Index or the Parent-Child Relationship Inventory may also be utilized.

Contact a Crystal Lake Child Custody Lawyer

If you are a parent with concerns about the other parent’s mental health, wellbeing, substance use, or cognitive abilities, you may be interested in requesting a mental health evaluation during your custody case. Situations like these can be extremely complicated and difficult to manage on your own. For help, contact a McHenry County family law attorney from Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC. Call 815-338-3838 for a free, confidential consultation.




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