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Divorce Strategies to Prepare for a Forensic Exam

08th December 2011
By Nina Vucetic in Divorce
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A forensic exam can help your case or hinder your case. Preparation is the key. If you are in a custody dispute make sure you understand what forensic examiners do, how a forensic exam could help or hinder your case, and how to prepare a winning strategy to handle your forensic exam.

What is a Forensic Exam?

The courts like evidence. They do not like to make important decisions based on opinions – especially if the people offering those opinions have ulterior motives or could be biased. In a custody dispute, parents can have very strong opinions about what is happening and what should happen. Parents can accuse the other parent of emotional or physical abuse. Accusations of neglect or bad parenting are common. Unfortunately, parents lie. The courts know this, so they turn to experts.

A forensic examiner in a custody case has training related to child psychiatry or relevant discipline. The forensic examiner may write a report or appear before the court to advise the judge on issues related to the case. For example, if one parent claims the other parent is abusing their child, then a forensic examine may investigate if this claim is true by talking to the parents and any witnesses and looking at records such as police reports .

The Effect of a Forensic Exam on Your Case

A forensic exam can certainly sway a judge. If the forensic exam concludes that you lied to the court or fabricated evidence, this will not help you. On the other hand, if the forensic exam concludes that your spouse poses a risk to your child, then the court may grand custody to you.

Unfortunately, many parents are interviewed by a forensic examiner without preparation by an experienced lawyer who can advice them of how to present themselves in the best light. To do well in a forensic exam, it helps to understand the system and what the forensic examiner is looking for.

What Not To Do

Bad-mouthing your spouse while being interviewed by a forensic examiner often backfires.

The parent thinks they are explaining why their spouse should not have custody. But this is not how it may appear to a forensic examiner. You may come across as unreasonable. It may looks as if you are putting your emotional desire to get back at your spouse above the best interests of your child. It may look as if you are not making an effort to work with your spouse to co-parent your child.

There may be issues about your ex-spouse that you should discuss during your forensic exam. Discussing your case with a lawyer can help you focus on what needs to be said, and how to say it.

Thinking Strategically

What you want to do is position yourself as a first rate caregiver. This means show the forensic examiner that you understand the particular needs of your child and then show what you do to meet your child’s needs.

You can explain problems and concerns you have with your spouse’s parenting, but you have to be very careful to present these points.
Remember, the forensic examiner is looking for evidence. The forensic examiner should be trying to be objective so appeals to emotion may not work. For example, instead of saying that you are a kind and loving parent, give examples of your parenting. Do you pick your children up on time from school? Do you sign your child up for activities that are suitable? Could you give character references of people who have seen you parent your child?

A child custody lawyer can help you prepare for a forensic exam.
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