Center for Excellence in Family Court Practice

AFCC Child Custody Consultant Task Force

In 2009, AFCC President Emile Kruzick established the Interdisciplinary Child Custody Consultant Task Force, to study and define the role of the mental health professional engaged as a consultant (mental health consultant) by an attorney for a litigant in a child custody dispute.  The attorney engages the consultant because the attorney’s client is either going to be or has already been evaluated by a court appointed mental health professional (forensic mental health evaluator) in a case involving a litigant’s rights to custody or access of a child in a pending action related to parental divorce or separation. The discussion paper is the Task Force’s first attempt to promote interdisciplinary dialogue on the emerging but largely unexamined role of a mental health consultant. It first defines its scope, purposes and limitations. This paper then describes the functions of a mental health consultant and discusses practices and problems with the mental health professional performing those functions.

Resources

Child Custody Consultant Task Force, Mental Health Consultants and Child Custody Evaluations: A Discussion Paper (PDF)

Child Custody Consultant Town Hall Meeting (MP3) AFCC Member Content
AFCC Ninth Symposium on Child Custody Evaluations, October 2010

The Child Custody Consultant: Helpful Shepherd or a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? Addressing Ethical and Practical Concerns (MP3) AFCC Member Content
AFCC Eighth Symposium on Child Custody Evaluations, September 2008
Renee Lehr, JD, PhD, Dianna Gould-Saltman, JD, H.D. Kirkpatrick, PhD, Moderator: Hon. R. John Harper

Task Force Members

  • Robin M. Deutsch, PhD, Co-chair
  • Hon. William C. Fee, Co-chair
  • Andrew Schepard, JD, Reporter
  • Hon. Dianna Gould-Saltman
  • S. Margaret Lee, PhD
  • Renee Lehr, JD, PhD
  • David Martindale, PhD, ABPP
  • Martha A. McCarthy, LLB
  • David Medoff, PhD
  • Christopher C. Melcher
  • Pamela C. Ortiz, JD
  • Hon. Deborah Paulseth
  • Jeffrey P. Wittmann, PhD
  • Lauren Barth
  • Hilary Casper