Child Custody Evaluations in California

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic
Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Miriam Galindo holds a doctor of psychology from Trinity College of Graduate Studies. Dr. Miriam Galindo runs a private practice in Irvine, California, where she conducts child custody evaluations.

In California, parents who go through a divorce often have to undergo a child custody evaluation, or a 730 Evaluation. While judges sometimes order these evaluations for concerns related to substance abuse or child abuse, they also order them when parents simply cannot come to an agreement on custody.

A 730 Evaluation may be conducted by four types of professionals in California: psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and marriage and family therapists. If the parents cannot agree on an evaluator, the judge either chooses one or requires the parents to submit a list of potential evaluators. The professional conducting the evaluation assesses the parenting practices and mental health of both parents in order to inform the judge’s orders related to custody and visitation.

Reunification Therapy Seeks to Establish Parent-Child Relationship

Irvine, California
Irvine, California

 

For more than two decades, Dr. Miriam Galindo has worked with children and families. She shares a private practice in Irvine, California, with her husband. With her primary focus on counseling children and families involved in high-conflict divorce cases, Dr. Miriam Galindo also offers reunification therapy and co-parenting services.

Reunification therapy is becoming more common high-conflict divorce cases. This form of therapy becomes necessary when one parent does not see a child for a specific time. This process attempts to recognize a relationship between a child and a parent while identifying specific aspects that have impacted the parent-child relationship. The goal is to ascertain the specific factors that contribute to the estranged relationship so both parties can work on communication and trust.

The therapist typically begins reunification therapy sessions by meeting with each parent separately to go over court orders pertaining to custody and parenting. When a case involves conflict, the therapist must assess parents’ resistance on pertinent parenting issues.

Focusing on the process of divorce, the impact upon the child, and the long-term benefit of having a relationship with both parents, the therapist also interviews each child individually. From there, each child meets with the noncustodial parent. The goal is to develop a pathway that enables the noncustodial parent and child to spend time together outside of therapy and reestablish their relationship.

Dr. Miriam Galindo Helps High-Conflict Families in California

Dr. Miriam Galindo pic
Dr. Miriam Galindo
Image: galindopsychology.com

Dr. Miriam Galindo is a licensed clinical psychologist and social worker. She sees clients at her private practice in Irvine, California, where she works extensively with both young children and families experiencing high-conflict divorces. Dr. Miriam Galindo was recently involved in the high-profile custody dispute involving the television star Tamra Barney.

During a public divorce and custody battle, Real Housewives of Orange County star Tamra Barney wanted her three children to appear on the reality show with her. She filed a motion requesting permission to film the children without the consent of their father, Simon Barney.

This motion triggered a 730 evaluation, the state of California’s method of sorting out custody issues. This evaluation requires an expert counselor, social worker, or psychologist to investigate and assess the family. Evaluators make a recommendation as to the best interests of the children and may be required to testify in court.

In the Barney family’s case, Dr. Miriam Galindo evaluated the family and recommended that the children not appear on television. Her report was not favorable toward Tamra Barney. Ms. Barney and her attorney did not contest Dr. Galindo’s findings.

Testimony of Children in California Custody Proceedings

As an approved expert for Orange County Superior Court, Dr. Miriam Galindo helps to ensure that custody proceedings protect the best interests of minor children. Dr. Miriam Galindo also provides co-parenting and child counseling for young people involved in contested divorce cases.

In the state of California, courts do not force a child to testify against his or her will. However, courts do permit a child 14 years of age or older testify to his or her preference of custodial parent unless doing so would not be in the minor’s best interest.

If testifying in court is deemed not to be in the best interest of the minor, the court must provide an alternative means of learning the child’s thoughts on the matter. This typically involves enlisting the services of a guardian ad litem, evaluator, or other professional, who speaks with the child and confers his or her opinion in court.

A child younger than 14 may testify if a court determines that he or she is sufficiently mature to state an informed opinion. Younger children may also share their opinions via a mediator or other third party, though the court may take into consideration the age and intellectual abilities of the child. Furthermore, if the child is younger or easily influenced on a particular topic, the court may request that the child testify in chambers and away from the parents.