Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Child Custody 

Requesting a psychological evaluation in a Florida child custody case requires more than just a “hunch” that a parent has psychological issues. There must be competent and substantial evidence to support such a request, and it must be related to the best interest of the children involved. In the case Curtis v. Reinhardt, 243 So.3d 451 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018), an order requiring an accused sex offender to undergo psychosexual evaluation was appealed.

This case was filed as a petition for injunction against sexual violence by a mother on behalf of her minor child, requesting that the accused, Mr. Curtis, be prohibited from having contact with the child based on allegations that Mr. Curtis sexually abused the child. The injunction was granted, and as part of the court’s order, it was mandated that Mr. Curtis "‘shall submit himself for a psychosexual evaluation to be performed by a licensed provider’ to determine: (1) the risks of reoffending generally; (2) the nature of the relationship between Curtis and [the minor child]; (3) recommendations on how the relationship can continue in a safe manner; and (4) how the relationship can be reinstituted and with what safeguards.” The order did not specify who was to perform the evaluation and what type of psychological testing was to be performed.

Mr. Curtis appealed the court’s order, and on the ground that the psychological testing order was overbroad, the appellate court agreed. The court held, “When a trial court's order does not specify the manner, conditions, or scope of the evaluation, it effectively gives "the psychologist 'carte blanche' to perform any type, and all manner, of psychological inquiry, testing, and analysis," which "violates clearly established principles of law, resulting in a miscarriage of justice.” (internal citations omitted). The trial court was therefore instructed to comply with Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.360 by specifying the time, place, and physician's name, as well as the manner, conditions, and scope of the evaluation.”

If you were ordered to undergo psychological testing or need to request it in your Florida family law case, consult with a Miami child custody lawyer to determine the best way to proceed.