A former California social worker, Miriam Galindo, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and registered child play therapist. Dr. Miriam Galindo currently provides counseling services to families and children involved in high-conflict divorce cases through her private practice in Irvine. She regularly works with the Family Law Division of the Orange County Superior Court and was recently sought after to complete a 730 evaluation for a case involving the filming of children for the show Real Housewives of Orange County.
Ensuring the best interests of the child, a court traditionally enforces a 730 evaluation to determine if child or substance abuse is occurring or whether the mental health of a parent may prohibit proper care of a child. Additionally, a judge may request a 730 evaluation if the child’s upbringing is in question.
In the state of California, a custody evaluator, appointed by a judge or selected by a judge from a list submitted by members of both sides of the custody case, is called upon to complete the analysis. A custody evaluator may hold the title of psychologist, psychiatrist, qualified social worker, or marriage and family therapist. He or she provides to the court insight into potential issues regarding parenting or mental health by conducting a psychological test, interviewing parents and family members, observing interactions between the child and parent, and completing home visits.
In the resulting report, which is submitted to the court, the custody evaluator addresses parenting characteristics and the quality of the parent-child relationships. Further, the professional addresses how the parents perceive their child, as well as the pressures placed on him or her.
Dr. Miriam Galindo, a licensed social worker and licensed psychologist, currently maintains a private practice with her husband in Irvine, California. With a doctor of psychology from Trinity College of Graduate Studies, Dr. Miriam Galindo provides psychological counseling to children in high-conflict divorce situations.
Divorce is a stressful and confusing experience for children, so it is important that parents help their kids through the process by maintaining stability at home, attending to their children’s needs, and being positive. At first, discussing the situation with children is often a difficult task, but telling the truth, addressing the changes that will be happening, and telling children often that they are loved help alleviate the pain and confusion. Parents should explain in a simple way why the divorce is happening and emphasize that, while things may change between parents, both parents will always love their children.
It is also important that parents do not blame their spouse, as difficult as it may be. Speaking badly about one another and quizzing children on what happens at the other parent’s house makes the situation more stressful for the children. Sometimes, getting help for one’s own painful feelings helps with staying positive and supporting the children.
Parents should also allow children to express their feelings about the situation. By allowing children to be honest about what they feel, parents are able to learn the best way to support and help them through the process. Any misunderstandings that come up should be calmly addressed so that the children understand what is happening. Finally, a consistent message of reassurance and love is an important part of the divorce process for children.