This is a personal letter I received from The Honorable Senator Harry
Gast, Michigan State Senator, regarding the use of expert witnesses in
court. In family court situations an "expert" may be called upon to testify
who has never observed the child and parent together, or performed and
specific accepted standard psychological testing, or evaluations, or preserved
any of the evidence the expert may testify to based on nothing more than
experience, theory and opinion.
Courts sometimes enter specific orders when ordering a psychological
evaluation and assessment, to be considered by the court, and at other
times the court may enter an order that simply states: "IT IS NOW HEREBY
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED, that a psychological evaluation and assessment shall
be performed by (expert witnesses name) on the minor child and both parties."
This is an example of the vague court order that I caution against
as it leaves the "criteria" entirely up to the expert witness. When a court
order is entered worded like this a competent attorney should be filing
objections and demanding the right to preserve evidence (interviews videotape
recorded), and also requesting specifics such as the expert personally
observing the interaction between a parent and a child. Specific accepted
standard testing should also be required as well as releases signed by
This is the time to object, in court, or forever be subjected to,
and be considered to accept these conditions as applicable to your life
and the relationship between you and your child.