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Drafting the parenting evaluation court order: A conceptual and practical approach



A court's order begins and directs the process of a court-appointed parenting evaluation. If the order is ill-defined, the evaluation, its conclusions, and the resulting expert opinion may be compromised. To draft a clear order, lawyers should understand the nature of a psychological evaluation, identify the legal bases and the authority in psychological literature and ethics for conducting a parenting evaluation, and establish the specific purposes for the court-ordered evaluation. Likewise, psychologists should understand these drafting issues to guard against role and ethical pitfalls in their court-appointed tasks. This paper will explore these issues. In addition, suggestions for drafting a motion petitioning the court for an evaluation are offered, and a model court order for parenting evaluations is presented. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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