Dealing with Section 29A Psychological Reports       www.menz.org.nz

If the court has ordered a Section 29A Psychologist's report, you do not have to attend but it may be prejudicial to you not to do so. Here are some hints on how to handle the situation.

1. Contact the family court counselling co-ordinator to find out who the psychologist is, or the court will contact you anyway. It is usually much quicker if you contact the court.

2. Phone/write/fax the psychologist requesting an appointment. Tell the psychologist that you intend to tape the interview (using a double deck recorder or 2 machines) and immediately making a copy available to him/her. You are taking a extremely serious risk if you agree to an interview without it being recorded. Family Court psychologists have a notorious reputation for biased reports and unfounded observations.

3. If the psychologist objects to taping (as they probably will), say that you:
a) Only wish to protect the truth.
b) The psychologist should have confidence in their professional ability so why have an objection to being taped.
c) They are subjecting you to a 2-6 hour interview which you will find impossible to rely totally on your memory. This is an interview which could have a substantial effect on the future and well being of your children and yourself.
d) If applicable: the psychologist may not have the understanding of a different culture and it's effect on the situation.

If the psychologist does not agree, write to the court for an urgent judicial conference (quick and easy to do) and put the above reasons to the judge.


At the interview:

When answering questions, try not to show any animosity, anger, spite or revenge towards your ex partner or her family. Try and answer in the best light and most positive manner possible. Keep the focus on what is best for your children.

Be careful that situations most people consider as part of everyday normal life, i.e., disagreements, arguments and the associated silly behaviour that we are all sometimes guilty of can easily be misconstrued by the psychologist as abusive, controlling etc.

If the report is wrong, biased, or unduly negative:

You can apply to the court to have it reviewed and critiqued by another psychologist. Contact your local father's support group to learn which psychologists are currently prepared to offer second opinions.

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