Long Island Divorce & Family Law Firm Established in 1976

What Happens if a Forensic Evaluator Displays Bias or Impartiality in the Report?

It is customary for a forensic evaluation to be ordered in a custody case to aid the Court in determining the appropriate custodial arrangement. This process requires both litigants to cooperate with the forensic evaluation process, which would include interviews with the evaluator, providing the evaluator documentation to support claims and also providing the evaluator with contact to others who have information relative to the claims being made.

After receiving the forensic evaluator's report, it is often the case that one party is dissatisfied with the report and seeks to have the report stricken and to have the forensic evaluator disqualified. In order to accomplish this, it is the burden of the person who seeks the disqualification to prove to the Judge presiding over the matter that the forensic evaluator was biased, impartial or hostile. This would normally require the moving party to file a motion to disqualify the forensic evaluator and include proof of hostility, impartiality or bias. The simple fact that the moving party was not happy with the conclusion or recommendations is not enough.

Having a forensic evaluator disqualified from a case is not easy to do and it can be risky. If you fail to have the forensic evaluator disqualified, it may even backfire and offend said evaluator, which may make matters worse than they already are. Unless you have convincing evidence of hostility, impartiality or bias, it may be better to allow your attorney to challenge the forensic evaluator on cross examination at a hearing and flush out any perceived inequities in the evaluator and evaluation.

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