After I have some sort of consultation with a new parent and we both decide that my help is indicated, that parent will contact their lawyer, if they have one. It is at this point that my involvement can become derailed.
First of all, not all lawyers are resistant to help from a consultant such as myself. I have had a number of lawyers eagerly interested in my help. In spite of this however, there are those who are not so inclined. I believe that the first reason for this is that they simply and honestly do not understand my role, which is no failing on their part.
Most mental health types with doctoral degrees operate as expert witnesses for most Family Lawyers, so it is understandable how they would immediately assume that this is the role that I would fulfill.
As a testifying expert, most competent Family Lawyers see it as their responsibility to find and contact any potential expert. There are good and sound reasons for this, so a Family Lawyer, hearing from their client that they have contacted what the lawyer assumes will be a testifying expert, will react negatively to this and advise the client to let them do their job, and for the client to simply rely on them.
After however the Family Lawyer learns that my role would not be as an expert, but rather as a “behind the scenes” consultant, the lawyer should begin to react more openly.
I have found that the best of the Family Lawyers do react this way and are glad to have another member on the team.
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