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When Are Psychological Evaluations Used in Illinois Family Law Cases?

Posted on in Divorce

st charles divorce lawyerThere are multiple situations where family members may need to address legal issues. These disputes can become very contentious, especially when parents or other parties disagree about what is best for children. In some cases, divorcing spouses, parents who need to address issues related to child custody, or other family members involved in children’s lives may become concerned about children’s safety, physical and mental health, and overall well-being. To ensure that children will be protected from harm or to address other concerns about the safety of family members, psychological evaluations may be performed.

Reasons for a Psychological Evaluation

In family law cases involving children, the court’s primary focus will be to protect children’s best interests. While parents are generally presumed to be fit to care for their children, there are some situations where a parent or other family members may be concerned that children will be at risk of physical or emotional harm when in a parent’s care. One or more parties involved in a case may request a psychological evaluation of either or both parents, and children may also be evaluated to gain a better understanding of their relationships with their parents and any issues that may affect their well-being. A judge may also order psychological evaluations if they believe that they need additional information to help them make decisions about child custody.

Psychological evaluations may be appropriate in situations involving:

  • Domestic violence or abuse - If a parent has been accused of committing physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse against a family member, an evaluation may be performed to determine whether it will be appropriate for children to have regular parenting time with that parent. An evaluation may look at the types of treatment the parent has received to address these issues and the steps they have taken to ensure that their children will be safe from harm. Depending on the results of the evaluation, a judge may determine that restrictions on a parent’s child custody or parenting time will be appropriate, such as requiring that a parent’s time with children be supervised.

  • Substance abuse - A parent who has suffered from drug or alcohol addiction may be evaluated to determine whether they have received the appropriate treatment and are taking the proper measures to ensure that children will be safe while in their care. 

  • Mental health concerns - Parents or other family members may suffer from mental illnesses that affect their ability to care for children, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or intellectual disabilities. An evaluation can determine whether parents have received treatment for these conditions while also addressing any concerns about how mental health issues will affect children’s well-being.

Contact Our Naperville Family Law Attorneys

If you believe that a psychological evaluation would be appropriate in your family law case, or if another party has asked that you be evaluated, Goostree Law Group can help you understand your rights and options. We can help you request an evaluation or work with you to meet all of your legal requirements as you respond to an evaluator. To schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you protect your rights and your children’s best interests, contact our DuPage County child custody lawyers at 630-364-4046.

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt.+VII&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=10000000&SeqEnd=11700000

https://ilcourtsaudio.blob.core.windows.net/antilles-resources/resources/a72f28f1-2791-4e9c-816d-bb9ef3672a5f/Rule%20215.pdf

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