Canadian jurisprudence over the last 30 years contains a wealth of information with respect to the use of psychological testing in family law cases. On the surface, the personality characteristics and psychological functioning of parents may appear as insignificant factors in how parenting cases should be decided. However, when psychological testing is utilized as part of a comprehensive assessment, it can demonstrate that the personality characteristics and psychological functioning of an individual can have significant, if not profound implications in relation to their ability to parent and meet the needs of their children.
When used correctly, psychological testing can form an integral component of a parenting assessment. However, when accepted principles and methodologies are overlooked or ignored, the consequences can be quite unfortunate.
The objective of this presentation is to describe the most commonly used psychological tests, summarize the type of information the tests provide, review the methodology of how the test results form part of the evidence, and elaborate on how judges incorporate the psychological test results as part of their decision-making process.
Additionally, the presentation will provide the attendees a set of guidelines useful for family law lawyers, mediators, judges and mental health professionals when psychological tests are used in a parenting capacity report or assessment. These guidelines incorporate the methodology and application of psychological testing as they relate to issues of evidence in family law.
David Frenkel is a senior lawyer at the Halpern Law Group. He practices exclusively in the area of family law with a keen interest in psychology topics intersecting the law. Although technically a litigator, David looks for creative ways to settle family law disputes in an amicable and holistic manner. His legal writings and opinions can be found on his personal website,www.frenkelfamilylaw.com.
Dr. Irwin Butkowsky’s current practice specializes in the area of marital separation, divorce and family breakdown. In this regard, he provides marital and separation counselling, individual counselling and psychotherapy for adolescents and adults, play therapy for children, family mediation focused on the development of appropriate parenting arrangements in the post-separation period, comprehensive custody and access assessments and parenting coordination. . Dr. Butkowsky has had extensive involvement in the assessment and mediation of custody and access disputes since 1981. To date, Dr. Butkowsky has conducted in excess of 650 custody and access assessments and more than 250 mediations. He has been in full-time private practice since September of 1986.
Dr. Shely Polak