Forensic Psychologists Take Heart Stage in 2012 Custody Case

Psychologists’ professional witness testimony and parental alienation claims in a Tennessee custody case.

Maupin v. Maupin

The mom and father on this case had been married in 1993 and had three youngsters, born in 1998, 1999, and 2002.  The mom labored at a hospital, and in addition offered jewellery.  On the time of the wedding, the daddy labored at Lowe’s, however shortly after they married, the daddy stop his job.  The mom claimed that this was in opposition to her needs.  He targeting farming, however not often confirmed a revenue.  Beginning in 1998, he labored part-time as a mail service.

In 2007, the mom started an extramarital affair, and the daddy discovered of it a number of months later.  The mom claimed to finish the affair to avoid wasting the wedding, and the daddy gave up farming to spend extra time together with her.  Nevertheless, the mom continued the affair and the daddy turned conscious of it.  The mom filed for divorce shortly thereafter.  The events continued to reside collectively within the marital residence for a number of months.

Two professional witnesses testified by deposition.  The primary was Charlton S. Stanley, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., a forensic psychologist who did a psychological analysis of the mom.  He met with the mom, and in addition listened to numerous recorded phone conversations between varied members of the family.

Many of those recordings had been performed into the court docket report, “till the trial court docket uninterested in father’s profanities.”  At the moment, transcripts of the recordings, with profanities redacted, had been submitted as reveals.

Dr. Stanley testified that he was “appalled by the disrespect” proven to the mom by the youngest son.  Regardless of the kid’s age, Dr. Stanley recognized the son to be the dominant youngster and “Alpha Male” of the household.  He famous that the son gave the impression to be extraordinarily aggressive and stuffed with anger, and made accusations in opposition to his mom.  Despite the fact that the daddy could possibly be heard within the background of those recordings, he did nothing to intervene.

Dr. Stanley additionally concluded that the mom was “situationally depressed,” though she had no diagnosable dysfunction as outlined by DSM-IV.  He concluded that the daddy had “pursued a course of parental alienation” between the mom and their sons.”

The opposite professional witness carried out an analysis on the request of the guardian advert litem.  That professional was Wayne Tasker, Psy.D. LPC, LCSW, BCPC, who met individually with each the dad and mom and the youngsters.  Dr. Tasker concluded that the youngsters would profit from a parenting schedule which included high quality time with each dad and mom.  His final suggestion was that “they do have contact, that the boys have contact with their mother, that the daughter has contact with the dad, and that mainly the youngsters have contact with one another. You realize, the 2 boys and the lady.”

The trial court docket named the mom as the first residential guardian of the daughter, and the daddy was named major residential guardian of the sons.  Every was assigned 247 parenting days in that function.   Nevertheless, the residential schedules had been designed to facilitate the youngsters’s shared time collectively.

After trial, the mom made a movement for contempt, arguing that the daddy was discouraging the boys from visiting the mom.  Nevertheless, the trial court docket held that the daddy had certainly inspired them, however they refused to go together with their mom.

The mom introduced an attraction to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals and raised numerous points, together with the parenting preparations.  Specifically, she argued that it was error to call the daddy major residential guardian of the boys, since allegedly “it was father who poisoned the boys in opposition to her.”  The daddy contended, nonetheless, that the mom introduced it on herself by advantage of getting an affair.

The appeals court docket quoted a few of the recorded phone conversations, and agreed that a few of the father’s feedback amounted to “venom.” Based mostly upon the boys’ testimony in chambers, it famous that that they had clearly adopted the daddy’s views.

However the appeals court docket concluded, quoting an earlier case, that “separating siblings is a drastic treatment” to be accomplished solely in extraordinary instances.  For these causes, it affirmed the parenting plan adopted by the trial court docket.  It did, nonetheless, remand the case to carry a listening to as regards to household counseling.  It requested the decrease court docket to nominate applicable therapists, with the aim of achieving a wholesome household relationship.

The appeals court docket additionally modified a portion of the judgment concerning the mortgage on the marital dwelling, earlier than remanded the case for household counseling.

420 S.W.3d 761 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013).

See authentic opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see Little one Custody Legal guidelines in Tennessee and our video, How is youngster custody decided in Tennessee?

See additionally Tennessee Parenting Plans and Child Support Worksheets: Building a Constructive Future for Your Family that includes examples of parenting plans and youngster assist worksheets from actual instances out there on