Child Custody Legal Case Study

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Child custody is a contentious area of forensic psychology and often an area where many forensic psychologists are sued. It is easy to understand why: No matter what the recommendation, at least one of the parties will be extremely unhappy and will perceive that his or her children are being taken away as a result of the professional findings. Unfortunately, children can often be used as “pawns” for the parents, who in their highly emotional state may forget that the best interest of the child is what should matter most. Every day the legal system faces these difficult child custody cases, and professionals attempt to mediate and find solutions to assist in choosing the best alternatives for the children. It is often very difficult for all parties involved.

In this week’s Discussion, you will consider the high-profile case involving Bill O’Reilly and his own legal battle for child custody. How will you as the forensic psychology professional confront the difficulties of the media and the potential sensationalism involved in this case while also understanding the implications for communicating your opinions regarding the findings of the case?

To prepare

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources, focusing particularly on the Bill O’Reilly case.

Post a response to the following:

  • Explain what areas a forensic psychology professional may likely assess when making specific recommendations involving high-profile situations (such as the Bill O’Reilly case). Provide specific examples.
  • Recommend one juvenile forensic assessment instrument that the forensic professional would most likely utilize in making a decision regarding the case.
  • Provide specific guidelines for effective communication of forensic assessment findings, especially in light of the high-profile status of the case. Your ability as a forensic professional to remain impartial should be an important consideration.

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