The Family Court and attorneys regularly assign community therapists to provide information concerning a child’s visitation. Apparently judges and attorneys think that is what therapists are there for. These assignments usually involve reimbursement by a third party payor (i.e., health insurance).
This practice blurs the lines between clinical and forensic roles, often involves therapists who have not determined the legal custody, not seen both parents, and who may have no training in court-involved therapy. This situation poses serious danger to therapists and creates situations where therapists are providing biased information in the already fraught legal situation.
These two power point presentations (PDF) describe the issues and proffer solutions to both courts and practitioners to insure quality and ethical practice.