child custody evaluations - psychological testing in court - forensic testing - disclosure, release of test data in discovery

This page is

Children need. . . THIS? A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P...

Case Study A3 Outcome Information - RETURN TO CASE A

Case Three: Custody Evaluation Report 04-05, updated 10-06

After the child custody report by the custody evaluator, one of the children, a severely handicapped little girl who is blind and requires a feeding tube, was injured while in the father's custody, in the home that the evaluator claimed would "provide a more stable environment" for the child! The mother explains what happened, below. The child's face has been blocked out of the photos to obscure identification.


Mother Three: "[These pictures show what] Zervopoulos allowed my handicapped daughter to be subjected to by her father during visitations...

        "This is how she returned to my care after her last visit with her father on a weekend. There were prior incidences too... my ex's attorney and our judge were law partners at one time 92-98... Nice to find that out at the end of everything and have it hidden from me... my daughters condition. She's 100% handicapped and dependent, legally blind and non-verbal.

        "The pics showing her stomach... Her feeding tube, when not secured properly can come detached from the plug.  The father decided to disconnect the connection tube and proceeded to tie the flap on the button shut with a "meat string" (type of string used to tie chicken or turkey legs when cooking)... the stomach acids leaked out of her button site (where tied) creating a reaction with the string and irritated the abdomen (skin).

        "It was obvious that the area wasn't watched or treated due to the severity of the outbreak and the meat string by rubbing against the skin made the skin raw and now there is a scar as a result.

       "Her clothing was wet from the stomach acids/ fluids leaking out and that also contributed to more irritation to her skin.   Upon our getting her home that evening, we had to take her to the emergency room for immediate treatment.  A gastrointestinal specialist assisted in the treatment to heal the area.  But, my daughter now has a permanent scar from where the meat string rubbed against her skin.  

      "The picture of her arm (on the inside) was an outbreak that occurred at while she was at her dads residence and, as you can see from the pictures, this was medically neglected and untreated while she stayed with her father. The area was an open sore surrounded by additional outbreak sores (scabbed over). This injury took weeks to completely heal.  

        "The picture showing my daughters face and bruises around her arm, which she had upon returning from her stay with her father remain a mystery to all of us.  

        "The police officer took the report, witnessed the marks and asked to have a crime scene photo taken.  It took several days for the redness on the face to go away and when it did, there were two obvious scratches on the corner of her mouth as noted in the photos...

        "The father also left this daughter (100% handicapped, blind, nonverbal, on medication for seizures, difficulty swallowing -- which is the reason for her tube feeding, doesn't walk making her completely dependent and care for hygiene, i.e. diapers) alone in his residence on the second floor of an apartment complex during the evening hours with our 11 year old daughter.  While I'm sure she tried her best, this daughter is about the same size as her handicapped sister and she just doesn't have the ability to care for a handicapped child if something were to go wrong."  

right-click on images
to see full size

Mother Three. continues: "These are pictures of the two daughters in the 'primary care' of their father because of 'expert' John Zervopoulos's recommendations. (He stated, 'The girls should adjust to the father fairly quickly' and in a short time, he believed, the girls 'would do well')... The first question is: how 'short a time' and the second question is: this is doing well?

"These daughters have been in the primary custody of the father for a year now. The pictures show that while at the father's house, the oldest daughter on two occasions (documented by the photos taken) resorted to cutting herself on her arm as her means of coping with the situation. She stated that the first time she cut herself, she used her own fingernails to dig into her own arm. The second time (photos show a cut in the middle of the other two small cuts), she used the sharp end of a metal coat hanger to dig into her arm. In addition, during this school hear, she is on the verge of truancy charges -- only one 'tardy' away from having to go to truancy court.

"Dr. Zervopoulos's recommendations have resulted in placing these children at risk and directly harmed their wellbeing.

"The other pictures are of the second daughter in the primary custody of her father. She did not receive adequate prevention and treatment care for eczema (allergy rashes) that she suffers. She also drew a pictures at school that depicted herself hanging herself from a tree and hanging over a coffin. This was concerning enough to the school that they requested that she have a "threat assessment" to determine if she was a danger to herself

"Both girls are going through those particularly rough teenage years, changes in their bodies, their social lives, where they need the care and concern of a loving and competent parent. But Zervopoulos instead decided to recommend that they be placed into the custody of an abusive and neglectful man.

"Will it take a tragedy before somebody stops 'experts' like these, and judges who indulge them and the demands of abusive men in order to restore the children's safety, stability, and security? "



right-click on images
to see full size

Now let's recall what the so-called "expert" John A. Zervopoulos, Ph.D., of Dallas, Texas, who supposedly knew better than the child's mother -- whom he trashed -- had to say in his report. Quotes from the custody evaluator's report:

Dealing with forensic psychologists and discovery of test data in court "[Mother]'s responses, particularly when experiencing stress, were more emotional and impression-based than critical or logical..."

"She appeared to have difficulty distinguishing her needs and fears from those of her children"

"...unnecessarily stirred and reinforced the girls' anxieties about being with [Father]..."

"too readily accepts the children's accounts of their experiences with [Father]."

"[Father]'s home with [Stepmother] will provide a more stable environment to meet [the Children]'s needs than [Mother Three]'s home with [Stepfather]. If asked, both [Children] will insist that they want to continue living primarily with their mother. But I expect that they will adjust quickly to their father's home..."

"parental alienation"

This work is part of ongoing research being conducted by the National Network on Family Law Policy, with the assistance of numerous scholars, professionals, and others who are investigating the workings of our justice system. For more information, contact sarah,

Also see Rethinking the Assumptions of Therapeutic Jurisprudence in the Family Courts
and Custody Evaluator Quotes

Florida Handbook on Discovery - 2007
Clark v. Clark, September 15, 2010 Fla. 4th DCA: "material harm of an irreparable nature [to allow] expert to exclude recording, reporting or other people from being present".
Are Psychologists Hiding Evidence?
Releasing Records in Child Custody Evaluations (J. Poliacoff)
Signs of a Bad Custody Evaluation (J. Klass)
Therapeutic Jurisprudence Index
Child Custody Evaluations -- Reevaluating the Evaluators
Right of First Refusal in Parenting Plans
Child Custody Evaluators "In Their Own Words"
Parenting Coordination, a bad idea
Parenting Coordinator Practical Considerations
Those Joint Custody Studies

Offsite Links:
CCFC Amicus Brief, Tadros v. Doyne
Information on the RORSCHACH at
Information on the MMPI-2 at

Psychology is not science -- or good law

It doesn't matter WHAT the protocols are. It doesn't matter how unbiased the examiner. It doesn't matter how copious the information gathered or how conscientious the assessment. For getting at the "truth", it absolutely doesn't matter how much training the evaluator has in domestic violence, feminism, fathers' perspectives, or abuse defense. All the training does is create a belief bias. The general public -- and this includes judges -- need to be educated that there is very little expertise in forensic or applied psychology. There is no predictive power. There is absolutely no way to take sociological surveys about groups of individuals -- and this includes psychological testing -- and apply any of it to one individual. At best, we have insightful guesses. But training in psychology does not improve insight; those who go into the field frequently do so because they are people who already have problems and lack the insight to figure them out. And the training itself is as likely as not to diminish this cognitive function as its practitioners learn to deny their own flawed human cognitive synthesizing in order to substitute an even worse rote protocol under the pretext of neutral scientific investigation. There is no science. There is no falsifiable unifying theory with causation and prediction. There is no expertise. There is only familiarity with the presumptions, protocols and lingo of the field, just as one would find with "expertise" in astrology. No matter how expertly mapped, or with what nuance and consideration of all relevant details, the positions of the stars still say absolutely nothing about anything. -- liz

The Child-Centered Divorce Family Court is Not a Family-Friendly Place Parenting Coordination Dealing with forensic psychologists and discovery of test data in court


Except as otherwise noted, all contents in this collection are copyright 1996-2011 the liz library. All rights reserved.
This site is hosted and maintained by Send queries to: