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Interviewing, Report Writing, and Testifying in Child Custody Cases

Presented By David A. Martindale, PhD, ABPP
David A. Martindale, PhD, ABPP

20 hours | 20 CEs

This on-demand professional training program on Interviewing, Report Writing, and Testifying in Child Custody Cases is presented by David A. Martindale, PhD, ABPP. This badge-earning program can be shared digitally on platforms like LinkedIn or your resume and counts towards a certificate. Enroll in this program to earn credit towards Child Custody Evaluation Certificate and share your new digital credentials with prospective employers and colleagues.

The differences in interviewing techniques, styles, and questions in clinical versus forensic settings are highlighted. Interviewing elements are discussed, as are additional elements such as scheduling matters, cognitive and attitudinal biases, and interviewing styles. There are many components involved in interviewing adults and children.

This program describes how to interview litigants, non-party sources, and collateral sources and also describes how to interview (a) credentialed professionals, (b) individuals presumed not to be aligned, and (c) individuals presumed to be aligned. General issues regarding the usefulness and weight of collateral sources are also discussed.

Elements of Interviewing children are discussed, including Assessing cognitive capacity and maturity; the use of interview facilitation mechanisms; the issue of possible coaching of children; addressing source misattribution; and interviewing the allegedly alienated child(ren). Potential problems with interviewing, including refusals to respond, invocations of the Fifth Amendment, and requests for assistance or emotional support, are also discussed.

Participants learn about organization issues, formulating opinions, preparing drafts, and general issues in relation to Report Writing. Organizational issues include data integration, dealing with discrepant, incomplete, unreliable, or missing data, and conceptualizing the intended audience.

This program uses case studies and case law examples to guide participants through how to formulate their opinions in a report. Participants learn how to decide what format to use when drafting the final report, whether it should be reviewed, and who is entitled to review it. The report delivery and distribution are also briefly overviewed. General issues regarding reports are also discussed, including Descriptive reports v. Prescriptive reports; Dispassionate reports v. Persuasive reports; Data, opinions, and recommendations; and articulating limitations.

Finally, the program addresses the issue of offering expert testimony. General issues in establishing the contract, financial responsibility, payment arrangements, discovery, and defining experts are described. Participants also learn about preparing for trial, including file organization, homework, and updating their CVs, along with learning opportunities from judicial decisions and trial transcripts. The elements of effective and ineffective testimony by court-appointed evaluators and elements of effective testimony on direct, use of jargon, complex explanations, and more are discussed. Skills needed to respond effectively to aggressive cross-examination; testimony by retained work product reviewers; case-blind didactic testimony; and testimony by treating practitioners are also topics that are covered.

Intended Audience

This on-demand professional training program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals

Experience Level

This on-demand professional training program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

CE / CPD Credit

APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

Describe the distinctions between clinical and forensic interviewing

Describe at least three biases that must be considering while conducting interviews

Describe the key elements of child forensic interviewing

Describe the factors to be considered regarding the inclusion of diagnoses

Describe different types of forensic reports

Describe the elements of admissible expert testimony

Describe the distinction between personal opinions and expert opinions

Describe at least 3 elements of effective testimony on direct examination

Describe at least 3 elements of ineffective testimony on direct examination


Presented By

David A. Martindale, PhD, ABPP

David A. Martindale, Ph.D., ABPP (forensic) limits his practice to consulting with psychologists, attorneys, and state regulatory boards. He regularly lectures on issues pertaining to evaluations of comparative custodial suitability, served on the AFCC Child Custody Consulting Task Force, and was th...


1. Introduction

2. The Interview Process

3. Biases

4. Record Keeping

5. Avoiding Preemptive Influence

6. Interviewing Parents

7. Forensic Interviews of Children

8. Report Writing

9. Inclusion of Diagnoses

10. Report Writing - Draft

Develop a Specialty Area of Practice

Transforming mental health professionals into experts

Expert Instructors

Professional training developed and delivered by the field's leading experts

CE Credit

Earn CE credit for meaningful professional training that will elevate your practice

Convenience & Flexibility

Learn at your own pace, from wherever you might be!


Earn Certificates

This is badge-earning course, which means it will help you earn a certificate that can be showcased on digital platforms like Linkedin.