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Dirty Ohio Custody Case Tricks to Watch Out For Part 1, by a Columbus Ohio Child Custody Lawyer

OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, COLUMBUS OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS IN OHIO, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio Custody Lawyer and Ohio Custody Attorney.  She is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist, one of approximately 100 attorneys in Ohio to have received this honor.  
Our Ohio Custody Lawyers know that in custody litigation, people do not always play nice.  In fact, most of the time they will do nearly anything to win.  Unfortunately, the conflict can sometimes become more about “winning” over the other parent than what is in the best interest of the child.  This article is about some of the unfortunate, tactics (both directly aggressive and passive aggressive) that we see in Ohio custody cases.

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYSDIRTY TRICK NO. 1: AVOIDING SERVICE.  People will go to great lengths to delay the inevitable, and step number one is avoiding service.  This can be especially devastating if you are trying to serve a restraining order on the party to prevent them from moving your child out of the state.  An experienced Ohio Custody Lawyer  will know the “tricks of the trade”, so to speak, and will be able to help you serve those papers on the opposing party and get your case rolling.

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERSDIRTY TRICK NO. 2: SHOWING UP AT THE FIRST HEARING AND ASKING FOR A CONTINUANCE TO GET AN ATTORNEY, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE ALREADY HAD WEEKS OR MONTHS TO DO SO.  The person who currently has the most legal rights over the child is not anxious for that to change, and is motivated to delay the proceedings.  This is one of the most common ways that they accomplish this.   An experienced Ohio Custody Lawyer can help you keep the opposing party from abusing this trick, although they may receive one continuance to obtain an attorney.

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERDIRTY TRICK NO. 3: FAILING TO PAY THE GUARDIAN AD LITEM, IN ORDER TO KEEP THE GAL FROM DOING THEIR JOB.  When a GAL begins their investigation, this represents the possibility of change.  For the party who does not want anything to change, this is a threat.  The GAL does not start work until they have been paid the fee, which is usually split in some fashion between the parties pursuant to the court’s order.  The party who sees the GAL as a threat sometimes delays or refuses to pay the GAL’s fee, with the result being the GAL does not begin work, and the process is delayed.  An experienced Ohio Custody Lawyer can advise you regarding how to deal with this problem and make sure the GAL starts work despite the other party’s resistance.

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERSDIRTY TRICK NO. 4: THREATENING THE CHILDREN.   This dirty trick is especially loathsome.  Most people do not threaten the children physically (although some do, unfortunately).  This is usually more of a psychological threat to the children, such as “if the court gives Daddy what he wants you won’t ever see Mommy again (or your dog, or your sister, etc.).  It is a terrible thing to do, for any reason, but unfortunately it happens all too often.  The threat is designed to sway what the children will say to the Guardian ad Litem or the Magistrate.  If this happens to you, your Ohio Custody Lawyer will know what to do, and you should tell them immediately.

 

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYERSDIRTY TRICK NO. 5: HOPSCOTCH COUNSELLING.  Sometimes people put their child in counseling right around the time of litigation, in order to (hopefully) solicit some information from the child during counseling that will help their case.  This tactic is suspect if the need for counseling arose right around the time the litigation was initiated.  Then once the child has made a statement which the parent believes is detrimental to the other parent, the other parent is invited to attend counseling.  After that, with very little contact with parent B, and getting most of their information from Parent A, the parent who initiated counseling and has a litigation agenda, the counselor makes statements to the guardian ad litem, which the guardian ad litem almost always follows because the counselor is an “expert”.  Although counselors are not supposed to make recommendations regarding custody, as a treater, all to many of them do not know this, and will produce a letter supporting the agenda of the parent who sought them out and gave them most of their information (and is also pressuring the child).  Even more suspect is when the counselor is someone that the lawyer recommended.  Even more suspect than that is when Parent A did not get the desired result from the first counselor, so they move on to counselor B.

In this situation, it may be toxic for Parent B to become involved with the counselor at all.  Before having any contact with the counselor, Parent B should speak to his or her experienced Ohio Custody Lawyer and carefully plan his or her response to the situation.

 

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OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY ATTORNEYNeed some help? We would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.  Please give us a call, and one of our Ohio Child Custody Lawyers will meet with you to discuss your case.

OHIO CUSTODY LAWYER, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEY, OHIO CUSTODY LAWYERS, OHIO CUSTODY ATTORNEYS, OHIO CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER

 

 

Virginia Cornwell is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.

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Psychological Evaluations in Ohio Divorce and Custody Cases: Series on Divorce Part 16

There is a lot of fuss and fanfare about psychological evaluations in family law.  The most common reason we hear for requesting a psychological evaluation in Ohio family law cases (divorce, custody, visitation, shared parenting), is, “I think my ex is bipolar and I want custody of my children.”  Many clients want to have a psychological evaluation performed in their cases, but what happens in those evaluations is a big mystery to them.

When the purpose of the psychological evaluation is to determine which parent is more suitable to parent children (a Child Custody Evaluation), there are guidelines that an evaluator must use.  On February 21, 2009, the American Psychological Association revised their “Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings”.  They are now known as the “Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings“, an acknowledgment to the fact that the definition of family in America is changing, and psychological evaluations are no longer used only in divorce.

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The new guidelines can be seen here: http://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/child-custody.pdf.  Contrary to what most parents believe, the purpose of a psychological evaluation is not to see if either parent has a mental health diagnosis.  The Psychologist’s contact with the parents is unlikely to be sufficient for the Psychologist to actually make a diagnosis.  At best, they may be able to observe characteristics which might be “consistent with” a certain diagnosis or disorder.

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If the purpose of the examination is not to make a diagnosis, then what is it?  In a nutshell, the purpose is of the psychological evaluation, or child custody evaluation, is:

  1. Where possible, to answer the referral question that was set out in the Court’s order which required one or both parents, and the Child, to participate in the evaluation; and
  2. To determine the psychological best interests of the Child.  Where appropriate, the Psychologist can make a recommendation as to which parent is better equipped to meet the psychological needs of the Child.

Columbus Ohio Divorce & Custody Attorney

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10 Things to Discuss with Your Attorney

Sometimes the Court will choose the evaluator, and sometimes the Court will allow the parties or attorneys to choose or have input regarding which psychologist will perform the evaluation.  In that case, here are 10 important things to discuss with your attorney:

  1. How much will the psychological evaluation cost?
  2. Who will pay for the psychological evaluation?
  3. Does this Expert generally prepare a written report?  If so, does the Expert generally prepare the report on time, or request multiple extensions of time to prepare the report?  If you don’t want your case to drag on, is this the Expert for you?
  4. When this Expert prepares a report, does he or she generally make a recommendation to the Court, or avoid making a recommendation to the Court?
  5. What does this Expert charge for his or her time in depositions, and for court time?  Is it a higher hourly rate or an expensive flat fee?  If your case goes to trial, you will probably need this Expert to come to court.  Can you afford to pay for that?
  6. Has your Attorney worked with this Psychologist before?  If so, what were your Attorney’s impression of his or her work?
  7. In your Attorney’s experience, does this Psychologist generally make a recommendation which favors mothers? Or fathers?  If your Attorney’s experience is that a particular psychologist almost always recommends one parent over the other, and that parent is not you,  you should discuss your concerns with your Attorney.

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  1. If need be, will the Psychologist participate in depositions and testify in court?  Believe it or not, some psychologists who will perform custody evaluations do NOT want to give a deposition or go to court in any way, shape or form.  Although they can be compelled to do so, discuss with your Attorney why you would voluntarily agree to hire an unwilling expert.
  2. Is the Expert willing to supply his or her information, notes, etc.  in response to a subpoena, to the extent permissible by law? Does your Attorney know if the Expert has redacted information or notes when his or her records were subpoenaed?  If so, why?  Was there a legal basis for doing so, or was the Expert trying to hide something that should be discoverable?
  3. What is the Expert’s working relationship with the Guardian Ad Litem?  Does your Guardian Ad Litem always suggest this Expert?  If so, why? Does the Expert have discussions with the Guardian Ad Litem that he or she does not disclose to your Attorney?
You may also be interested in some of our divorce articles:

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