The Value of Forensic Psychiatry in Child Custody

The issue of custody is a difficult one for everyone involved. The decision about who will care for children, and to make decisions that will affect their current lives, will have a distinct impact on their entire life. A forensic psychiatrist often has a lot of weight in the final decision, because of their expertise in psychiatric issues that may be at the heart of the case.

Child custody battles may include questions about one or both parents’ drug or alcohol dependency, sexual behaviors, or mental health issues. While some cases require a child psychiatrist to look at the needs of the child, others also include a look at the health and habits of the parent or parents. The physical and psychological development of the child may be considered, to determine whether a parent has the capability of providing adequate care for the child. The psychiatry expert also performs child custody evaluations when a parent challenges the other’s ability to make the best decision for the child about issues like which school to attend, or what religion to follow.

The forensic expert will use all the available information to evaluate the needs of each child, drawing on expertise in the area of psychiatry and pediatrics to make a meaningful decision about whether a parent is likely to act in the best interest of the child. It is also important that the expert have a great deal of experience in child custody cases in order to be able to provide an unbiased opinion that is based on a thorough evaluation of every important factor.