Child Custody investigations are meant to be confidential even for Lawyers
Psychological evaluations of children are confidential. A recent case has come down in California that enforces the idea of confidentiality and the importance of keeping information gotten from a investigation secret. All of this comes from the importance of keeping our children safe from attorneys and the divorcing parties or child custody litigants who are so angry with each other that they will do anything to destroy each others reputation and credibility.
Sadly child custody investigations are really a result of the vicious lawsuits that are filed blaming the other parent of atrocities worse than warfare. The lack of civility has created an area of family law that has become so often used and abused by litigants that we lose site of our children and their needs and concerns. We forget they are lost in the craziness of the parents and their vicious accusations upon one anther without any merit usually.
“Confidential information contained in a report prepared pursuant to Section 3111 that is disclosed to the licensing entity of a child custody evaluator pursuant to subdivision (a) shall remain confidential and shall only be used for purposes of investigating allegations of unprofessional conduct by the child custody evaluator
.” This means that the legislature of the State of California takes the child custody investigation so serious that the actual evaluator is held up to a very high standard of confidence about their report. The protection of the children or child is so high that any release of any information will be dealt with as the utmost breach of trust by the Court of Law. This results again from the seriousness of the child custody litigants who are foaming at the mouth to deface the other parent at any cost. They will do whatever it takes to take down the sanctity of parenthood and any good the other parent might offer the children. It just doesn’t matter anymore the gloves are off and the boxing match starts.
In a recent California case In re Marriage of Anka and Yeager. The 2nd district court of appeal made the statement regarding family code section §3025.5(a). They stated its ” purpose is the protection of the child privacy and the encouragement of the participants in the evaluation to speak with candor. Thus, the panel found, the Dad’s statements to …(the therapist.., and (the therapists) conclusions regarding parental abuse and the children’s relationship with their parents were “at the very heart of every child custody evaluation,” and well within the protection of the statute.” Thus the Court ruled that the attorney who took a deposition during the child custody battle of Anka and Yeaker went beyond the scope of not breaching the confidentiality of the child therapist. They felt that the attorney asked questions that divulged confidential communications between the children and the therapist.
family code section 3111(d) states that disclosures from a child custody investigation cannot be “made maliciously, recklessly, and without substantial justification, and …….not in the best interests of the child.” Therefore it is clear that all child custody investigations are handled with the utmost care.