TOOL OF THE DAY: Top 3 Questions to Ask an Expert Before you Waste Your Money…
CATEGORY: Family Law Due Process
Before you ask for a family study (730 evaluation), psychiatric evaluation, or any other expert to get involved in your case, STOP to think about what you might be inviting them to do. Are you inviting them to impose burdensome costs on you? I don’t know of any courts that has limits set on how much the evaluations might cost. The only time I’ve seen them limit is when they know the parents are plumb out of money, and sometimes even then they don’t, like you saw in Wendy Archer’s case out here in Texas, they didn’t care that she didn’t have the money for a GAL
Also ask yourself if you are inviting them into your private business? To my knowledge a family study is done on both sides and usually the psych evals are as well (not always but frequently). Now you are opening up anything and everything in your entire private life for the scrutiny of the court!! You wouldn’t do this if anyone else was attacking you or if you were being accused of a crime, (well most wouldn’t), and you shouldn’t do it now, but you do. Why?
Mostly you probably open yourself up because you believe that if you just play along and prove the other parent is not good or you are better or they aren’t any better than you (whatever your propensity is), then you think that you will get a better end result. Well none of us were born yesterday and social media has been a wonderful thing for learning what has happened to others who thought the same thing. There is still a winner and a loser. And the odds are still 50/50 and in some cases worse or better depending on the judge and their propensity.
Let’s talk about experts now. How does this relate to them? The above information doesn’t necessarily relate specifically other than I am trying to get you to think of your family decisions and your life as private. And I’m trying to help you see this as they are attacking your rights to your child and your time with your child, so you should treat this very strictly and keep them very firm on due process. (Check out our other posts on due process on this blog.)
First, most experts follow the path and pattern of the court. They don’t have any intention of treating you like you have rights that need to be protected. They want to convince you that they get to advise you and the judge or just the judge in many cases what is best for your child. This means they just expect you to cooperate and they get to do whatever it is that they do based on their beliefs and habits. This leaves you wide open doesn’t it? And if you planned on structuring your case to protect your family rights, then you have to ask yourself, “How does this expert fit in?” And “Will they take your case down a different course?”
In one father’s case not too long ago, an expert testified that the father should undergo a psych eval. The father was arguing his right to not have a psych eval used against him. Who do you think won? And the father hired this expert to testify for him!
This was a very expensive lesson to learn on the spot. So here are a few sample questions you could ask an expert before you hire them:
- 1. Do you believe that parents should have to undergo psychiatric evaluations in child custody cases where neither parent has been proven in a court of law to be unfit?
- Do you believe that I should undergo a psych eval?
- 2. How do you usually win cases? Do you try to prove that I am a better parent than the other parent?
- 3. How do you protect my rights when you testify for me?
- What rights do you believe I have?
If this expert intends to prove that you fit the judge’s idea of a good parent, then I would think twice before hiring if you are trying to present protection of your constitutional parental rights.
What you should be shooting for if you are going to use an expert is one that will prove that you meet the basic requirements of a fit parent according to the standards set by the United States Supreme Court, and according to the laws of your state that you meet the standards and that it does constitute child abuse (according to his understanding of the laws).
Do your best to make sure that their testimony does not lower the standards on you and does not take you off track. And if you can figure out a way to not have to use experts but the other side uses them. You can try to use their expert to your advantage by keeping the questions very focused on eliciting answers that will confirm that you meet the basic standards required under the law of the state and the law of the land.
Moral of this story is, an expert isn’t necessarily providing you protection, but in fact could actually be serving to remove some of your protection – even if they don’t think so or don’t know it.
We hope that you will know to ask your expert questions regarding these types of situations before you hire them. The same questions that you ask your attorney about your rights you should be asking your experts.
These blog posts are not intended to address every possible situation under a topic that we bring up. It is intended to evoke discussion and thinking around the topic. You can visit the Family Rights wiki if you want more topics and more discussion.
Have a good night.
Meet me back here tomorrow for another daily blog tool.
(Want to learn more of your rights, we cover them in our book: “NOT in The Best Interest of The Child.” So if you want to learn more about your rights so you can argue them more effectively, you can get the book here.)
[You can learn more about this and how to reason through your rights and protect your rights in our books and courses. Click at the top on Store and you will find the books and training tabs. The book teaches you your rights and the training courses teach you how to argue them like I demonstrated above.]
*We are not telling you to disturb the peace. This paragraph is a quote from the movie “Selma” 2014.
Strategic Parental Rights Strategist, Instructor, Constitutional Scholar, and Author
Divorce Solutions and Child Custody Solutions
Co-author “Not in the Child’s Best Interest” (Book on parental rights and children’s rights)
Co-author “Protecting Parent-Child Bonds: 28th Amendment” (Book includes guide for legislators)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fixfamilycourts (@fixfamilycourts)
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