Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blogging about the child custody evaluation

My ex-wife complained to the judge that a private child custody evaluator might not want to take the case after finding out about this blog. Comm. Joseph said that he cannot do anything about it.

I am not sure what anyone could reasonably expect me to do about this, if true. I have been accused of child abuse publicly in open court, and I have lost my kids as a result.

I contend that the accusations are entirely unfounded, malicious, and destructive. Surely no one would dispute my right to publicly respond to the public accusations against me. If I did not defend myself, then people would conclude that I was guilty.

Now suppose I get interviewed by a court-appointed child custody evaluator, and that evaluator ends up (falsely) testifying in open court that I am a child abuser. Would anyone really suggest that I might have some obligation to avoid publicly defending myself?

I can see where the custody evaluator might not like being discussed on this blog. She probably figures that she is going to collect some confidential information, and write a confidential report that may make me and/or my ex-wife unhappy. We may voluntarily agree to her recommendations, and there would never be any need to break any confidences. That is probably how her evaluations usually go.

But our case is not going to be anything like that. First, there is no confidential info. My ex-wife has already put all of her accusations out in open court, and there is nothing that I can do about it. Second, she is demanding sole legal custody and I am asking for 50-50 custody, not leaving possibility of compromise. Third, she is accusing me of child abuse, and I adamantly deny it.

The evaluation will likely be just ammunition for another public custody trial. If the evaluator does it with professionalism and transparency, then it will illuminate the evidence and allegations in the case, and show how generally accepted psychological wisdom can be brought to bear on the matter. That could be a good thing. If she does it right, then no one will accuse her of bias because she will detail all of the premises, facts, and analysis leading to her conclusions.

I am anticipating that there will be some press coverage of this case. Apparently this case is unusual enough to be newsworthy. A reporter might very well get a copy of the evaluation, and ask me for my comment to put in a published story. I hope that the evaluator does a thoroughly professional job, and is not afraid to put her reputation behind her report.

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