For Parents – What Not to Do during Child Custody Evaluations

 

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic

Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

The holder of a doctorate in psychology, Dr. Miriam Galindo is a licensed clinical psychologist and social worker. Since 2005, Dr. Miriam Galindo has been an approved child custody evaluator for the Orange County Superior Court.

Child custody evaluations are performed by qualified mental health professionals to help the court determine the best interests of the child in custody cases. During the evaluation, the mental health professional conducts several meetings, including with parents. Here are a couple of actions that harm a parent’s case for custody:

i) Dishonesty
During an evaluation, parents should maintain honesty with the evaluator. They should not lie about material things such as when the relationship with the other parent became serious, the parent’s availability for outside work, and any negative history. The evaluator is trained to recognize lies.

ii) Bad-mouthing the other parent
Do not bad-mouth the other parent and even worse, do not coach the children to bad-mouth your partner. Issues with the other parent should be phrased as concerns, not blatant attacks, and they should be backed by evidence. In fact, a parent can demonstrate he or she is looking out for the best interests of the child by acknowledging the positive traits of the other parent.

iii) Being uncooperative
It is important to cooperate with the evaluator fully. Make sure to attend interviews, answer all questions truthfully, and avail school and medical records where needed.

iv) Focusing on marital issues rather than the child’s best interests
Do not mix marital issues with parenting issues. The evaluation process does not seek to apportion blame. Rather, evaluators want to determine the best interests of the child. Just because a partner is a poor spouse does not mean he or she is a poor parent.

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What Is Forensic Interviewing?

 

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic

Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

Dr. Miriam Galindo, a licensed clinical psychologist, collaborates with the court system to provide assessment and counseling to children and families involved in divorce. A registered child forensic interviewer, Dr. Miriam Galindo stands out as a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Social Workers and the American College of Forensic Examiners.

When the safety of a child is in question, a protective services organization may conduct an interview of the child. These sensitive proceedings require not only an unbiased viewpoint but also an interviewer specially trained in asking the types of questions most likely to produce honest responses.

A basic forensic interview comprises a single conversation with an interviewer, though law enforcement and social work professionals may observe the session from a remote location. If a child is struggling to communicate his or her experiences in the single-session format, whether due to emotional or developmental challenges, the interview may take place over up to four sessions, depending on the child’s needs.

The forensic interview requires that the interviewer meet with the child alone. The parent does not have the opportunity to participate, although a family advocate, friend, or other support may be present while the parent waits for the child.

Keep Families Talking to Support Success in Family Therapy

 

Family Therapy pic

Family Therapy
Image: everydayhealth.com

Dr. Miriam Galindo offers clients at her Irvine, California, private practice a supportive atmosphere focused on their individual needs. Licensed as both a social worker and a psychologist, Dr. Miriam Galindo has worked closely with Southern California courts as an expert panelist, and has handled numerous cases involving divorce, custody, and family therapy.

Family therapy brings together all members of a family group in an effort to help them communicate more effectively with one another, handle interpersonal stresses better, and learn from and resolve differences.

A psychologist or clinical social worker is typically the professional providing family therapy, which needs to be crafted to accommodate each family’s unique circumstances. This is particularly important, experts say, because each family is, in effect, a social ecosystem of its own.

Studies have indicated that patients who talk more among themselves, and with their therapist, are more likely to remain in therapy for an effective length of time, and to have more successful outcomes. Experts advise family therapists to make sure to help parents find ways to talk through their issues more openly in therapy and to feel included and valued in the therapeutic process.

Membership Categories Offered by the AFCC

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts pic

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
Image: afccnet.org

Dr. Miriam Galindo, a licensed psychologist and social worker in California, belongs to a panel of experts who work with families involved in high-conflict divorce cases in Orange County Superior Court. Active in her professional community, Dr. Miriam Galindo is a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).

The premier association for professionals involved in resolving family conflicts, the AFCC maintains several basic membership categories. Four of these categories are:

1. Individual – Open to professionals and others interested in the resolution of family conflicts, individual memberships cost $160 a year. All members within this category receive a subscription to the Family Court Review and AFCC eNEWS. Members also receive reduced rates for AFCC conference registration.

2. Institutional – At $390 per year, institutional memberships are designed for courts, mental health practices, private law practices, and government and community agencies. Full member benefits are granted to three individuals, and these benefits can be shared with other members of the same organization.

3. Retired – Active AFCC members who have been part of the organization for five consecutive years but are no longer earning income from work related to family resolution are eligible for a retired membership. Retired members receive all the benefits awarded to individual members but pay only $80 per year in dues.

4. Student – For the discounted membership price of $25 a year, full-time students enrolled in accredited institutions can join the AFCC. Student members receive the same benefits as individuals, but students receive electronic-only access to the Family Court Review.

Co-Parenting Versus Parallel Parenting

Parenting pic

Parenting
Image: divorcemag.com

Dr. Miriam Galindo is a social worker and psychologist in Irvine, California. In addition to her private practice, Dr. Miriam Galindo serves on an approved panel of experts for Orange County Superior Court, where she offers child, family, and co-parenting counseling to clients involved in divorce.

Co-parenting is a situation in which divorced or separated parents provide equal care to their children. Co-parenting promotes the creation and maintenance of positive bonds between children and both of their parents and plays a key role in the academic performance and psychological adjustment of children whose parents are divorcing.

However, co-parenting requires a great deal of verbal communication and coordination between parents and is best used by parents who have a low risk of conflict. Parents with a high risk of conflict may be better suited for parallel parenting, in which the parents provide equal care for their children but remain disengaged from one another and have only limited direct contact, such as brief interactions during drop-offs.

The AFCC Task Force on Guidelines for Court-Involved Therapy

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts pic

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
Image: afccnet.org

Successful psychologist Miriam Galindo provides family, child, co-parenting, and reunification therapy services to patients in California. Possessing more than 20 years of experience, she has completed dozens of hours of continuing education and is a diplomate of the American College of Forensic Examiners and the American Board of Forensic Social Workers. Dr. Miriam Galindo also belongs to the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).

As part of its work to provide policymakers, researchers, and practitioners in the family court arena with resources and education, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts maintains the AFCC Task Force on Guidelines for Court-Involved Therapy. This task force was established in 2008 and operates under the organization’s Center for Excellence in Family Court Practice, a group consisting of numerous initiatives resulting from AFCC collaboration and task force efforts.

The AFCC Task Force on Guidelines for Court-Involved Therapy produces a set of guidelines to help AFCC members and other professionals, including attorneys and judicial officers, provide families and children with court-involved treatment services. These guidelines not only help those relying on mental health services receive effective treatment, they also assist courts in the development of effective parenting plans and court orders. Thanks to the standards laid out by these guidelines, the AFCC hopes to improve research, education, and practices when it comes to handling court-involved families.

NACCFI’s Forensic Interviewing of Children Course

National Association of Certified Child Forensic Interviewers  pic

National Association of Certified Child Forensic Interviewers
Image: naccfi.com

Dr. Miriam Galindo holds a master of social work from California State University, Long Beach, and a doctor of psychology from Trinity College of Graduate Studies. Throughout her career as licensed clinical social worker and psychologist, Dr. Miriam Galindo has completed a number of continuing education and advanced training programs, including Forensic Interviewing of Children through the National Association of Certified Child Forensic Interviewers (NACCFI).

A self-paced e-learning course, Forensic Interviewing of Children is designed to help professionals learn the proper procedures and interview techniques involved in effectively questioning children, whether they are victims or witnesses of a crime.

Analyzed and reviewed by more than 1,500 practicing child forensic interviewers, the Forensic Interviewing of Children course features 40 hours of online training designed as part of the curriculum needed to qualify for child forensic interviewer certification. Other portions of the curriculum include 16 hours of peer review practicum and 32 hours of competency training.