Forensic Psychological Assessment in Custody Litigation: Conceptual Issues, Data Integration, and Advanced Topics

Forensic Psychological Assessment in Custody Litigation: Conceptual Issues, Data Integration, and Advanced Topics


20 Hours | 20 CEs (CEUs)

Program Description

This self-paced training program on Forensic Psychological Assessment in Custody Litigation: Conceptual Issues, Data Integration, and Advanced Topics is presented by Drs. David Martindale and Jay Flens.

This training program presents instruction on interviewing methods designed to yield data most relevant to the issues before the court, and the processes to be employed in the integration of those data with data obtained through the administration of formal assessment instruments. Basic concepts of psychological assessment are discussed, with emphasis on test selection criteria, reliability, validity (in its various forms), and the manner in which testing conditions effect the reliability and validity of test data. Suggestions are offered regarding ways to effectively explain assessment findings in reports.

Data integration discussions include comparing and contrasting test data with other data sources, the use of test data in the development of recommendations and how to discuss testing in written and verbal testimony. Additional topics include a discussion of the inclusion of test data in evaluators’ reports, disclosure of test data and disclosure of test materials.

Specific instruments used by child custody evaluators are discussed in detail. Instruments discussed are those administered for personality variables (e.g., MMPI-2, PAI, MCMI), child behavior (e.g., CBCI, BASC-3, Connors), parent-child relationships (e.g., PSI-2, PCRI), including a discussion of various specific focus tests (e.g., PPI-R, TSI-2, Rorschach), and tests of questionable utility (e.g., Bricklin Scales, Projective Drawings, TAT).

The presenters discuss configural analysis, hypothesis testing, means by which to take situational variables into consideration, response style issues, the use of computer-based test interpretations (CBTIs), and practitioner interpretation.

The fee for this program is $500 and includes all materials.



Intended Audience

This course is relevant for mental health professionals who conduct forensic evaluations or who intend to add forensic assessment to their practice. Legal professionals will also find this workshop to be of particular interest if they are involved as counsel to plaintiffs or defendants in family court or child custody litigation. For a family law practitioner, you will learn how these evaluations “should” be conducted, which is valuable for cross-examining opposing evaluators and understanding psychological test results in child custody cases. This course is for advanced level clinicians.

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the distinctions between clinical and forensic interviewing
  • Describe the role of the standard error of measurement in the interpretation of test data
  • Describe the ways in which factors such as time of day of test administration can contribute to random error
  • Describe the benefits of reviewing test responses with test-takers
  • Describe the significant shortcomings of several often-used tests
  • Describe the distinction between the direct assessment of parenting and the assessment through the use of structured assessment measure of variables related to parenting skills
  • Describe the relevant factors to be considered in the selection of psychological testing
  • Describe the difference between normative data and context-specific base-rate data
  • Describe the ways in which measures of response style can be most effectively used in the interpretation of custody litigants’ test data
  • Describe the manner in which psychological test data are integrated with data obtained through other sources in custody evaluations
  • Describe methods for effectively explaining test data and interpretations in reports and testimony
  • About Professors Martindale and Flens

    Dr. David Martindale, diplomate in forensic psychology (ABPP), functions as a consultant to psychologists, attorneys, and state regulatory boards. He received his license as a psychologist in New York, in 1972, and received certification as a health service provider in psychology from the National Register in 1978. During his years as a health service provider, Dr. Martindale’s practice focused on families. Between the years 1986 and 2000, Dr. Martindale performed court-ordered evaluations in New York. He received board certification in forensic psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology in 1996. In 2000, Dr. Martindale limited his practice to forensic psychological consulting. In that capacity, he has conducted work product reviews for psychologists, for attorneys, and for psychology boards. He has conducted more than 2,500 work product reviews and has consulted on more than 100 malpractice actions and/or licensing board complaints. Dr. Martindale lectures regularly on issues pertaining to evaluations of comparative custodial suitability, has participated in the judicial training of family court judges, is the Reporter for the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluation, and served on the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ Task Force on Child Custody Consulting.

    Dr. Jay Flens is a board certified clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice in Valrico, Florida. He is licensed to practice as a psychologist in Florida where his practice is devoted primarily to family law-related cases. One of Dr. Flens’ principal interests is the use of psychological testing in family law-related cases. He has published several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics related to psychological testing and child custody-related issues, focusing on the use and admissibility of psychological testing in family law-related cases [see Publications]. As a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Child Custody, Dr. Flens was the first guest editor in the first double issue of the journal, entitled, “Psychological Testing in Child Custody Evaluations.” The double issue was devoted to the use of psychological testing in child custody cases, and was reprinted as a book by the publisher.

    Dr. Flens is a member of the American Psychological Association, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and the Society for Personality Assessment. In 2010, Dr. Flens was awarded Fellow status in the Society for Personality Assessment. In 2006, Dr. Flens earned his diploma (board certified) in Forensic Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology, joining the ranks of a group of approximately 330 Forensic Psychologists in the United States who have been board certified by ABPP. In addition, he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP). In 2012, Dr. Flens earned his diploma (board certified) in Clinical Psychology, and became a Fellow in the American Academy of Clinical Psychology.

    This course is designed for mental health and legal professionals who want to advance their knowledge in custody litigation and advanced forensic topics.

    Interviewing Methods

    Participants will learn about interviewing methods designed to yield data most relevant to the issues before the court
    – Obtain data
    – Integration
    – Administration
    – Assessment Instruments

    Assessment Concepts

    Participants will learn about basic concepts of psychological assessment
    – Test Selection
    – Reliability
    – Validity
    – Testing conditions
    – Reports

    Continuing Education Credit

    This Distance Learning Course is a Home Study Training Program. To earn CEs you are required to complete all course materials, quizzes, and the evaluation. No partial credit is available. A score of 70% is required to proceed; you will be able to re-take any quiz on which you score less than 70%. Participants will earn 20 CE hours upon completion of these requirements. Each participant will be able to download and print the CE certificate upon completion of the final evaluation.

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

    Your satisfaction with our programs, products and services is important to us; however, because these are immediately made available to you upon registration and payment, we do not issue refunds. Should you find that a particular program, product or service is not the right fit for you, we will assist you in crediting your registration towards another one of our offerings that might better suit you.

    We specialize in training groups — from a handful to hundreds — and are happy to contact you to discuss your group training needs.

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