Forensic Evaluation Program - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Forensic Evaluation Services

 

 

What are Forensic Psychological Evaluations?

Forensic Psychological Evaluations are designed to provide evidence relevant to assist the court in deciding issues of law based on relevant legal standards. Forensic Psychological Evaluations are specifically designed to assess psychological aspects of legal issues such as questions concerning the "best interests of the child" standard in custody evaluations.

 

Who should schedule an appointment for Forensic Psychological Evaluation?

While an examinee may directly contact our office to schedule an appointment, it is often in the best interest of the examinee to have their attorney initiate the contact to discuss the case prior to scheduling appointments. This provides us with an opportunity to review the relevant legal issues with the attorney prior to scheduling the evaluation, and to ensure that the forensic evaluation is likely to prove useful to the court.

 

What are Forensic Evaluations like from the perspective of the examinee?

Forensic Evaluations differ widely depending on the specific focus of the evaluation, but most evaluations consist generally of two broad components. The first component typically involves an extended individual clinical interview that may range in duration from two to four hours. The second component of forensic evaluations typically includes psychological testing with a variety of test instruments selected based on relevancy to the legal issue or standard of concern.

Forensic Psychological Evaluations may also include a review of relevant background questionnaires, medical and legal documents, personal and telephone interviews with collateral sources of information, and home visits and parent-child observations in the case of custody evaluations and parenting capacity evaluations.

The examinee should expect that they will be asked to provide written consent for the forensic evaluation and written consent to release and exchange relevant information. The Informed Consent procedure is designed to allow us to review the examinee's records and to discuss the examinee's legal case with other persons who might be relevant collateral sources of information.  Prior to the examinee's first appointment, the examinee will typically be sent background inventories to complete and take with them to their first visit. By returning these "take home" inventories to the office, the examinee gives the examiner an opportunity to become familiar with the examinee's background without having to spend many hours of additional interview time getting this information.

 

How are the results of the Forensic Evaluations usually presented?

The results of the evaluation are typically summarized in written report format and provided to the court and attorneys for the involved parties.  These reports vary in length from a few pages to around 20-30 pages for many custody evaluation reports.  Attorneys may contact the EVMS Forensic Evaluation Program with questions regarding the meaning or intent of report statements, which are often handled without additional charge if these inquiries are specific and relatively brief in nature.  If courtroom testimony is requested to clarify or emphasize report findings, an additional charge will be made to cover the costs of these activities.

 

What is the financial policy for Forensic Evaluations?

An initial consultation is provided without charge to discuss possible services and provide a retainer estimate.  If services are requested, then a retainer payment is expected prior to the provision of further services to cover initial costs.  Retainer payments typically include estimated expenses for the evaluation and report, but additional fees are associated with requests for depositions or expert witness court appearances.  Retainer payments are refundable for services if the request for services is cancelled with appropriate notice (e.g., at least one week prior to deposition appearance or courtroom testimony).  No reservations for evaluation time shall be made prior to the retainer payment in full.  A copy of the professional services agreement for forensic services is available upon request.

The actual final cost of forensic services in any particular case varies widely depending on the amount of time spent by the examiner, which in turn is related to the number of parties to be interviewed and/or evaluated, the amount of information to be reviewed, and the degree of complexity of the matter.  The examiner's fee may exceed the initial retainer. The client assumes and retains complete financial responsibility for all fee obligations.  All parties should note that health insurance does not usually cover forensic examinations and the misrepresentation of services by a provider to an insurance company to obtain coverage may constitute a fraud. All of the billings from our office will typically state that a forensic service has been provided, and document the nature of that service.

 

How are appointments made?

Office hours are from 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday.

Appointments can be scheduled at 757-446-7189 by requesting services through Ms. Julie Irving.

Questions may be directed to ForensicCenter@evms.edu