According to Florida Statute 61.13, a mental health professional can be appointed by a judge to carry out a social investigation. Many separating and divorcing parents have extremely high levels of conflict and anger. The family situation can become so contentious that the psychological and physical health of the child is put in jeopardy. The purpose of the social investigation is to provide the court with recommendations concerning the time-sharing, decision-making, communications, academics, and other areas of conflict.
The process of a social investigation starts with several meetings with each parent individually and each parent with the child. I also spend time with the child. The purpose of these meetings is to evaluate the parenting capacity of the parent, the parent-child communication and the psychological functioning of the child.
Each parent will provide a list of references who can provide information regarding their parenting skills. Parents and attorneys provide documentation such as legal documents, biographic data, school reports, emails and texts, photographs, and psychological evaluations. In some cases, I will make a home visit. The end result is a social investigation report that is presented to the attorneys and judge. The report will set forth my recommendations concerning the parental responsibilities.