Child Custody and High-Conflict Divorce: A Mark L. Scroggins Podcast
In This Video Podcast Mark L. Scroggins Talks About Child Custody and High-Conflict Divorce
When parents cannot agree, they work with their lawyers on a strategy to win. While both parents might agree that both have the child’s best interests at heart, there can be strong disagreements about many issues. Parents, divorce lawyers, custody experts, and judges share important roles in the process of sifting through conflict to find a resolution that works best for the child.
Listen to the podcast or watch the full video below. There is a collection of shorter video snippets on the Scroggins Law Group YouTube channel.
In the podcast, Mark suggests caution when making allegations and claims about the other parent, because the same can come right back to the one pointing the first finger. As child custody evaluators, amicus attorneys, and psychological experts become involved in a custody case, the risk of complications increases. Managing a high-conflict divorce with serious child custody issues requires the skill and expertise of a Board-Certified family lawyer who can best strategize and navigate negotiation and litigation.
Mark L. Scroggins is Board-Certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mark litigates complex high stakes child custody issues when settlement is not an option. Mark is the principal attorney at Scroggins Law Group, with offices in Frisco, Dallas, and Plano, to serve families in Denton, Dallas, and Collin Counties.
What Happens When Both Parents Want to be the Primary Parent?
When one spouse tells the other they want a divorce, it’s hopeful they communicate an interest in being agreeable and not dragging each other and the children through a lengthy and difficult divorce. Sometimes things change after the divorce is announced and one parent is surprised that the other is suing to be the primary parent.
In the podcast, Mark talks about some of the reasons people change direction, and how some attorneys guide their clients into billable custody battles. However, whether one parent or the other would be the better primary parent is something that takes some investigation.
Psychology Today offers some more thoughts about How to Deal with Divorce.
What is the Difference Between Child Custody Evaluators and Amicus Attorneys?
When one of the parties requests the judge to order a child custody evaluation, a counselor, therapist, licensed social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist can be appointed. The child custody evaluator is appointed by the Court’s order to investigate and report on a series of issues. The report to the Court contains recommendations and comments by the evaluator, about each party’s strengths and weaknesses as a parent.
Remember that the Court is not bound to order a custody evaluation just because one of the parents files a motion seeking an evaluator. There must be good cause shown why an evaluation may be necessary and in the best interests of the child.
The Owl Family Wizard writers offer some additional thoughts on child custody evaluators.
Amicus attorneys are different from child custody evaluators, who are usually mental health professionals. Amicus attorneys are appointed to represent the best interests of the child, overall. Mark explains the difference between amicus attorneys and custody evaluators in the podcast.
Ad Litem attorneys may also be appointed to assist the court with recommendations on specific situations that involve the child but are not necessarily the accepted subject matter with which a mental health professional works.
Issues Involved in Psychological Expert Examinations of Parents
Few things are as stressful as knowing your opposing party parent wants the Court to appoint a psychological expert to investigate your and report their opinions about your fitness as a parent. When one party wants to win at all costs, the accusations might fly. In the podcast, Mark offers words of caution to anyone opening a door that might snap back at them, because sometimes the ones who point the most fingers may themselves be suspect.
Suspicions aside, the Court must take seriously any allegations of risk and danger to a child due to the mental illness or psychological issue of one of the parents. A documented history of mental health issues and treatment may carry more weight than unsupported conclusions about the other parent.
The Child Mind Institute defines some mental health terms in their publication: Mental Health Specialists at a Glance.
When About the Children, Can They Offer Their Opinion?
Children over 12 years of age may be invited to speak with the judge and answer questions to help the Court weight the facts and evidence presented when asked to make decisions about the parties and children. This is not a routine practice, however, and is limited to situations and issues where the judge can weigh the factors influencing a decision to allow a child interview.
Please note that no judge is bound by the wishes, opinions, or recommendations of a child.
Children are rarely put in a position to testify in Court. First, the standing orders require parents to keep children out of divorce discussions. Also, asking one child to testify against one of their parents is almost never in their best interests. Therefore, most parties should worry about what their child can testify about or whether their child might be testifying against them over child custody in high-conflict divorce.
Call Mark L. Scroggins and Scroggins Law Group for Child Custody and High-Conflict Divorce (214) 469-3100. Scroggins Law Group Offices are located in Frisco, Dallas, and Plano, Texas, Serving Denton, Dallas, and Collin Counties.
You can also listen to this podcast on the Scroggins Law Group Family Law Podcast Channel on Blog Talk Radio with the title: Child Custody, High Conflict Divorce: Plano, TX Custody Lawyer Mark L. Scroggins.