Psychological Exams In Child Custody Battles


My wife suffers from a personality disorder, which has been informally diagnosed by our family therapist. As a result of her mental illness, she is emotionally and physically abusive to my children and I.

Can a court order be put into place to have a psychological exam done on my wife? And if she was found to be mentally unfit, how could that change the outcome of the custody battle?


A family court may order a child custody evaluation, which looks into one or both parents’ mental health and parenting practices. An evaluation is usually conducted by a licensed counselor, social worker or psychologist.

A judge will rely on such an evaluation when considering child custody matters. The court will likely order a custody arrangement that is in the “best interests of the children.”

Concerns regarding the safety of any children involved in a custody dispute will most likely affect the outcome of a child custody matter. Keep in mind that the court will always act in the best interests of the children.

Finally, depending on the state, a child may be able to directly address the court as to the child’s wishes regarding visitation, and a judge will consider the child’s request when determining the custody arrangement.

I recommend seeking further legal advice. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys licensed and located in 18 states who can provide a more in-depth analysis of your current situation.


Erin E. Clark is an Associate Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Clark is licensed to practice in the states of Texas, Kansas and Missouri. Ms. Clark received her Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism, cum laude, from Texas Christian University. She later received her Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University School of law, where she was an active member of the Law Review.

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