The MCS program provides a variety of services for people involved in family court. These include custody evaluation, mediation, parenting consulting, parenting time expediting, and psychogical evaluation.
Custody Evaluations :
A custody evaluation occurs when parents are in dispute about physical and legal custody of their children or have significant disagreement about parenting time.
A custody evaluation is often ordered by the court when there are questions about the abilities and emotional resources of one or both parents.
A custody evaluation typically involves meeting both parents, meeting the children, conducting home visits, reviewing records, and conducting interviews with people who know the family. The evaluation is quite extensive and usually takes a number of months to complete.
The evaluator makes recommendations to the court regarding custody and parenting time, but the ultimate decision rests with the judge.
Mediators assist parties in resolving disagreements and agreeing on a solution. In family court, mediators work with parents to come to an agreement regarding custody and parenting time and may address oher issues as well such as property division, child support, and spousal maintenance. The end product of a successful mediation is a document articulating the parents’ agreement.
Parenting Consulting :
A parenting consultant is appointed by the court with the permission of both parents. A parenting consultant helps facilitate communication between parents, provide education about child development, and make decision regarding scheduling and other issues.
Parenting Time Expediting :
A parenting time expeditor may be ordered by the court with or without the consent of the parents. A parenting time expeditor enforces, clarifies, and makes decisions based on court orders. Their role overlaps a bit with that of a parenting consultant but is more clearly limited and defined by law.
In family court, psychologists often consult with custody evaluators, guardians ad litem, and others. They use psychological tests, inverviews, and reviews of records to better understand an individual’s mental health and personality functioning.