Family Law Evaluations

Licensed clinical psychologist and senior expert witness in California with 10+ years of experience.

Our Family Law Evaluations service is expertly tailored to address complex matters where psychological insights are paramount in family court proceedings. We specialize in providing detailed, sensitive, and unbiased evaluations in the following areas:

Court-Ordered Parental Psychological Evaluation: Comprehensive assessments conducted to evaluate the mental and emotional health of a parent, often used to inform custody and visitation decisions, ensuring the best interests of the child are at the forefront.

730 Evaluations: In-depth court-ordered evaluations, named after California Evidence Code Section 730, in which an expert is appointed to examine and report on issues relevant to a case, particularly in matters of child custody and visitation.

We prioritize the well-being of all family members involved, especially the children, and work diligently to provide the court with thorough, scientifically informed insights that help guide equitable and thoughtful resolutions.

 

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Testified in court hearings
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Court ordered reports
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Psychological evaluations

Professional Experience

With over a decade of experience, I’ve honed my skills in the courtroom through extensive expert witness and fact testimony.

Superior Court-appointed psychologist
February 2022- Present

I am licensed in California (PSY#33167), Nevada (PY#1101), and under PSYPACT (#14010) to provide inter-jurisdictional psychological services in all PSYPACT states. I provide court-appointed psychological services and expert witness testimony to the Superior Court of California in civil court.

For civil evaluations, I conduct psychological assessments and provide expert testimony to aid the court in understanding the mental and emotional aspects of a case. Civil evaluations include:

  • Emotional/Psychological Distress
  • Sexual Abuse or Harassment
  • Employer Discrimination or Harassment
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Exposure to a Traumatic Event/PTSD
  • Industrial and Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Medical or Psychological Malpractice
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome/ Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Psychological Autopsies/Wrongful Death
  • Mitigating or Aggravating Factors
  • Malingering or Feigning Symptoms for Secondary Gain
  • Guardianship – Capacity to Make Medical or Financial Decisions
  • LPS Conservatorship Recommendation
  • Fitness for Duty
  • Psychiatric Disability
  • Jury Consultation

Criminal evaluations include, but are not limited to Competency to Stand Trial (PC 1368/1370), Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) (PC 1026), Registered Sex Offender (RSO) (PC 290), and Mentally Disordered Offender (MDO) evaluations (PC 2926).

Forensic psycholegal evaluations may include the assessment of mitigating and/or incriminating factors. Sentencing and risk assessment evaluations may be ordered for parole, and probation, for the placement of high-risk offenders.

In matters of deception, malingering assessments are utilized to assess for malingering of psychosis, malingering of memory, as well as confabulation, for secondary gain in criminal and civil matters. I am retained by both the plaintiff’s counsel and criminal defense counsel.

For Protective Services (CPS) agencies, I provide Parental Termination Evaluations, Bonding Assessments, and treatment recommendations for family reunification services.

In family law, I provide court-ordered (Evidence Code 730) child custody evaluations. I can provide psycho-legal evaluations for individuals and agencies across settings, including fitness for duty evaluations and immigration evaluations.

Contract & consulting psychologist
August 2016- January 2022

Facilitated psychiatric interventions for individuals in severe mental health crisis, brought in on 5150 holds.

Evaluated individuals, who met legal criteria of being a danger to self (DTS), danger to others (DTO), or gravely disabled (GD), due to a mental disorder.

Completed Tarasoff Warning, when applicable. Administered psychological assessments to assist with providing diagnosis and/or differential diagnoses. Provided crisis intervention, group therapy, case management, and treatment planning.

Court hearing representative for 5250/5270 court hearings. Provided legal testimony each week (over 800x) in court for individuals who met legal criteria for psychiatric holds and participated in REIS and WRIT hearings.

Completed LPS Conservatorship Recommendations.

Workplace Violence Prevention Committee member and Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Committee.

2016-2018 post-Doctoral supervision by Willene Pursell, Ph.D. and Thomas Swanson, M.D. 2021: ‘Licensed Waivered Psychologist’ by DHCS, supervised by Kelly Smith, Ph.D.

Contract Psychologist and Program Director for the Shasta County Jail-Based Competency Treatment (JBCT) Program
August 2020- January 2021

Executed the first Department of State Hospital (DSH) program at the Shasta County jail. Facilitated competency restoration for inmates awaiting criminal trial.

Provided direction, oversight, and supervision for the Jail-Based Competency Treatment (JBCT) program and staff. Primary designator for communication between JBCT stakeholders (i.e., the Captain, Sheriff’s department, DSH & Shasta County Superior court).

Completed Competency to Stand Trial court reports by utilizing relevant Jail Based Competency Treatment protocol. Administered psychological assessments to determine diagnosis, psychopathology, functioning level, intellectual impairment, and/or malingering.

Facilitated weekly psychoeducational classes and individual assessments for inmates.

Predoctoral Intern through the Department of State Hospital (DSH)
January- June 2015

Completed court-ordered forensic evaluations for the Department of State Hospital’s (DSH) statewide system of community-based mental health treatment services for specified courtordered forensic individuals.

Provided individual and group therapy to individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), who committed violent felony crimes.

Completed forensic psychological reports to the Superior Courts, for each patient, on a quarterly and annual basis, including risk assessments (for reoffending) using the HCR-20 risk assessment.

Provided court-ordered outpatient treatment and supervision to persons from various counties (Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo), who were adjudicated as Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) (Penal Code 1026) when tried for their crimes, and those who, while in prison for their crimes, were found to be Mentally Disordered Offenders (MDO’s) (Penal Code 2926).

Interviewed Napa and Atascadero State Psychiatric Hospitals patients to evaluate readiness for outpatient treatment and community reentry.

Clinical & Forensic Psychology Internship
June 2015- July 2016

Provided civil and forensic psychological evaluations for courts and attorneys by interviewing and evaluating defendants facing legal charges.

Assessments consisted of psychological evaluations to address criminal responsibility, dangerousness, risk assessment, malingering and deception, mitigating factors, aggravating factors, Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI), Guilty but Mentally Ill (GBMI), placement recommendations, Competency to Stand Trial (CST), and PC 290 Sex Offender evaluations, Competency to waive Miranda rights and validity of confessions and immigration evaluations.

Responsible for interviewing, administering psychological testing, forensic report writing, formulating a DSM-5 diagnosis, and making a treatment plan recommendation.

Provided placement evaluations and recommendations for parole and probation by evaluating individuals in the Sacramento County jail and juvenile defendants at the Stockton Juvenile Detention Facility.

Psychology Intern
2014-2015

Provided clinical psychological assessments for Social Security Disability Income evaluations, ADHD, and specific learning disabilities for adolescents. Tests administered included: WAIS-IV, WISC-IV, WMS-IV, WRAT-4, BSID-III, Bayley-III, Vineland-II, Bender Gestalt-II, Trails A & B, and TONI-III.

Responsible for interviewing, administering/scoring test protocol, report writing, and DSM- IV diagnostic formulation and recommendations. Participated in individual and group supervision to evaluate treatment plans and outcomes.

Intern
2013-2014

Collaborated with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and worked in partnership with Integrated Services for Mentally Ill Parolees (ISMIP) to provide collocated services to help transition parolees back into the community.

Provided mental health assessments, group therapy, rehabilitation, and therapeutic intervention to individuals in crisis using CBT and relevant treatment approaches to improve psychological functioning and reduce mental disabilities.

Partnered with CDCR psychiatrists to ensure medications were appropriate per their mental health diagnosis.

Developed, wrote, and facilitated a group therapy curriculum entitled, Women’s Empowerment, which focused on female criminogenic needs for mentally ill parolees.

Served adult mentally ill parolees, including Sex Offenders (PC 290), by providing mental health, crisis, clinical assessments, risk management, treatment, and crisis intervention.

Psychology Intern
2012-2013

Conducted intellectual and personality psychological assessments for the school district. Testing including WISC-IV, CTOPP, BERRY VMI, CVALT, KABC II, BASC, CONNERS, MACI, TAT, and RISB.

Attended Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) meetings and collaborated with probation agencies to assist at-risk youths in the school system. Provided assessments and treatment planning for emotionally disturbed and neglected children with ADHD, specific learning disabilities, and/or intellectual deficiencies.

Served primarily Hispanic children ages 5-15 by providing nonverbal testing to bilingual and non-English speaking children to assess for learning disabilities.