Interviewing, Report Writing, and Testifying in Child Custody Cases

Interviewing, Report Writing, and Testifying in Child Custody Cases


20 Hours | 20 CEs (CEU)


Program Description

This online, self-paced training program on Interviewing, Report Writing, and Testifying in Child Custody Cases is presented by Dr. David Martindale. 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 course 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 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 and how to deal with discrepant, incomplete, unreliable, or missing data; and how to conceptualize the intended audience.

This course uses case studies and case law examples to guide participants through how to formulate your opinions in your report. Participants learn how to decide what format to use when drafting the final report and 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 course addresses the issue of offering expert testimony. General issues in establishing the contract, financial responsibility, payment arrangements, discovery, and defining expert are described. Participants also learn about preparing for trial including file organization, homework, and updating your CV; 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.

The fee for this training program is $500.00 and participants should expect to commit approximately 20 CE hours to completing this training program. At the end of the training program, there is a quiz that must be passed with a 70% in order to advance in the course. Once the course is completed participants will complete a course evaluation and then will be able to print their certificate of completion.

Intended Audience

This course is relevant for mental health professionals who conduct forensic evaluations or who intend to add forensic evaluation 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 civil rights and personal injury litigation. This course is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

Upon completion of this training program the participant 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

This course is designed for mental health professionals who want to learn about Interviewing, Report Writing and Testifying in Child Custody Cases.

Legal professionals involved as counsel to plaintiffs or defendants in personal injury or civil rights cases will also find this course useful.
Participants will discuss clinical and forensic interviewing and scheduling matters
– Adults
– Children
– Potential Problems
Report Writing
Participants will discuss general issues and learn organizational issues about report writing
– Organizational Issues
– Opinion Formulation
– Preparing Report Draft
Participants will learn about general issues in access cases and elements of testimony
– Learning Opportunities
– Preparing for Trial
– Evaluator Elements

About Dr. David Martindale


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. Martindale is an excellent presenter and very clear in the process.”

“This course provided excellent report writing and cross examination suggestions.”

“Dr. Martindale is very detailed his case examples and stories. He is willing to share his knowledge and facilitate excellent discussions.”

Continuing Education Credit

This Distance Learning Course is a Home Study Training Program. To earn CE’s, you will have to complete the course quizzes and evaluation for this Home Study Distance Learning Course. No partial credit is available. For this course, you will need to pass the course quizzes with 70% correct and complete a course evaluation form to earn the certificate. You can take the test as many times as necessary to pass. Participants will earn 20 CE hours for completion once they have completed these requirements. Each participant will be able to print their CE certificate immediately after completing and passing the post-test and evaluation.

Board Approvals: APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC. This self-paced course has been approved by the Judicial Council of California that qualifies for continuing education credit. Pursuant to California Rules of Court, rules 5.225(d)(1)(2)(3)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(14)(15)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21), the outline or agenda submitted satisfies the requirements of the rule for 20 hours toward initial 40 hours Evaluator training, and annual 8 hours of Evaluator continuing education.
Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

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