Child custody cases are often stressful for the families involved. Two women have alleged that the St. Louis County family court system caused them undue financial and emotional stress.
What did these women allege the court system did?
Allegations against the St. Louis County family court system
The allegations by two different women arose out of court-ordered psychological evaluations. In one case, the opposing counsel requested the evaluation. In the other, a guardian ad litem made the request. In both cases, the women accused the doctor who assessed them of ignoring objective test results and making a subjective diagnosis of mental illnesses, such as major depressive disorder and narcissism, that harmed their case and cost them thousands of dollars in unexpected fees.
Officials representing the courts deny that the women were improperly diagnosed or caused undue financial harm due to the court-ordered evaluations. A lawsuit is pending against the doctor involved.
Court-ordered psychological evaluations
In some custody cases, one parent alleges that the other has mental health issues that affect the ability to be a parent. Additionally, a judge or guardian ad litem may question a person’s mental health based on observations of that person. In these cases, courts may order a psychological evaluation.
While psychological evaluations are not unusual, they are not normally ordered unless there is a serious question about the mental health of one or more of the parties seeking custody. The ultimate decision on whether to consider the findings of a mental health evaluation as part of the case lies with the judge.