The Child Custody Evaluation
“[Ex] feels that his writings to her are intimidating, confusing and difficult for her to follow. NOTE: These examiners have experienced similar problems with Mr. Brewington’s communications. [Ex’s] description of documents sent to her by Mr. Brewington is consistent in nature with those he has sent to Dr. Connor as well.]” Dr. Connor’s April 16, 2008 Addendum to the Custody Evaluation. -Nowhere in the custody evaluation does Dr. Connor mention that I present a danger to anyone.
Judge James D Humphrey claimed he based his ruling on Dr. Connor’s custody evaluation. Due to “numerous errors and oversights” Dr. Connor said existed in the original report, Dr. Connor release an addendum to the evaluation on April 16, 2008. Dr. Connor wrote in the addendum:
“On page 28 of the original custody report, in the last paragraph, the examiners state, “It is clear that the children are very attached to both parents. Both parents love their children dearly and it is unfortunate that they will not be able to co-parent the children; however, we believe that the recommendation is in the children’s best interest. Mr. Brewington can certainly provide child care for the children, but we believe that minimizing the amount of time he has with the children will in fact, sustain their existing bond. Even though we recommend that Mr. Brewington’s time with the children be minimized, we certainly understand that the children value their relationship with him, as he can be quite stimulating and fun for them; however, with regard to day to day routines, predictability, and remaining focused on task, we believe that Ms Brewington would be the more effective parent. We furthermore believe that Mr. Brewington would have difficulty consistently providing [Ex] with information and cooperating with her, than [Ex] would with him. Again, our opinion on this matter has not changed.”
I was accused of hurrying my daughter to the pediatrician when she had trouble breathing.
You know you don’t stand a chance in a custody evaluation when you get accused of hurrying a 17 month old child, who is having difficulties breathing, to the pediatrician just to demonstrate that you help take care of the children. No kidding. Dr. Connor wrote in the evaluation:
“There was an incident whereby one of the children had to be taken to the pediatrician for an apparent asthma attack. Dan had the girls on that day and [Ex] was off work. [Ex] said that she would be there in ten minutes but feels that Dan hurried the girls to the pediatrician’s so that he could sign them in. [Ex] believes that this is an attempt by Dan to show his interest in having and being a primary care provider for the girls when historically, he has not done so.”
Even her family attacked me in the evaluation
Dr. Connor met with my Ex’s family on a number of occasions despite not contacting, nor interviewing my family. My former sister-in-law who has no psychological training said:
“Dan is a good playmate to the girls… I’ve seen him with the girls… But I wonder if he is capable of unconditional love to the girls.”
Dr. Connor also wrote:
“[Sister-in-law] believes that school work would be problematic for the children if they were primarily with their father because, it’s not play.” -The challenge in educating children is making learning fun.
In writing about the interview with my Ex’s parents, Dr. Connor stated:
“They also expressed a concern whereby Mary stated that Audrey ate some of Tansy’s cat food and Daddy ‘spanked her real hard.”
You can look at this three different ways: 1) A three year old said something strange like three year olds sometimes do. 2) No one decided to investigate an incident where I allegedly beat my daughter, who was under 17 months, for eating cat food; or 3) Someone made up a story in an effort to limit my time with the girls.
When my Ex’s parents were questioned about my Ex’s history of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Dr. Connor wrote:
“They both stated that [Ex] is past these issues which were probably due to the environment she was in and the anxiety that the environment produced.”
That makes about as much sense as an alcoholic telling the Judge “She drove me to drinkin’.” My ADHD gave her OCD. “That’s all I have to say about that” -Forrest Gump
Dr. Connor forgot which daughter I loved more.
Of course I don’t love one of my girls more than the other but that was the argument that my Ex tried to make. She testified in the Provisional Hearing that I loved Mary more than Audrey. I guess Dr. Connor tried to run with this but he got the girls confused throughout the evaluation.
· Page 10, “[Ex] acknowledged that sometimes Dan would help with Mary at nighttime but that he seemed more interested in Audrey.”
· Page 13, “It was difficult to determine whether this was a preference on Mary’s part (to be more independent) or if Dan had a tendency to favor and focus more attention on Audrey.”
· Page 13, “Overall, there were no significant concerns noted during this session other than the fact that Dan seemed to focus more time, attention, and effort on Audrey possibly because she is the younger child of the two, but it appeared there was room for more equitable balance of attention between the two girls.”
· Page 15, “Also in the previous session, he tended to focus on Audrey more so than Mary after the family was left to play in the observation room.”
· Page 25, “[Ex] also expressed a concern that Dan shows favoritism of Mary over Audrey.”
· Page 2 of the Addendum under “Noted Corrections” Dr. Connor wrote: “[Ex] stated that Mr. Brewington sometimes would help with Mary at night-time, but that he seemed less interested in Audrey, as opposed to ‘more’ as stated in the first paragraph on page 10 of the report.”
Dr. Connor’s evaluation fixated on things I may do, be capable of doing, how I may feel, etc… instead of focusing on how much I loved the girls, how much they loved me, and how hard my Ex was working to drive a wedge between the girls and me.
What does ADHD have to do with anything?
I have ADHD. My wife told Dr. Connor ADHD was the main reason she wanted a divorce. Dr. Connor claimed he had a hard time communicating with me. Let’s assume Dr. Connor is telling the truth. If he could not understand someone with ADHD, then he probably shouldn’t be testifying in cases involving the competency of murders, because they might have ADHD. If he cannot understand people with ADHD, then he isn’t qualified to evaluate them. Dr. Connor ruminated on ADHD and communication problems because I didn’t have anything else he could pick on. I wasn’t an addict, I didn’t beat my wife or kids, no anger problems, etc… so Dr. Connor continued to harp on my ADHD. I’ve never burned the house down because I left the stove on. I never forgot to pick up the children from school. I haven’t been in a traffic accident in probably 200,000 miles. I’ve never lost a child in a grocery store. Why is ADHD a concern? Because that’s all Dr. Connor had against me.
Psychological testing should have no place in most custody evaluations.
A good psychologist can get a better understanding of a person from psychological testing. A bad psychologist can make a person be whomever the psychologist wants them to be, using psychological testing. Dr. Connor ran me through the gauntlet thinking that no one would see the test results. Dr. Connor stated in his contract that he was not allowed to release psychological test data to non-psychologists. What Dr. Connor didn’t know, or didn’t say was the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology ruled psychologists had to release the test data directly to the client. When Dr. Connor finally provided me with my psychological test data, it was what I expected.
I’m not an expert in psychological testing but, when I looked at the results of the testing, I found Dr. Connor had highlighted the bad things in the interpretive report and none of the good. Guess what appeared in the evaluation?
Here are some of the things that my psychological testing said that I may suffer from:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder– The Mayo Clinic says if you have ongoing anxiety that interferes with day-to-day activities and relationships and makes it hard to enjoy life, you may have generalized anxiety disorder. I fail to see how someone who accepts the challenge of taking on a crooked custody evaluator and a vindictive judge could have an anxiety disorder.
Narcissistic Personality Traits– Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism. I’m beginning to worry that my ultra-confidence mask is going to break. I hope it doesn't break before I can prevent Dr. Connor and Judge James Humphrey from hurting children and families.
Schitzotypal personality Features- Schizotypal personality disorder is a serious condition in which a person usually has few to no intimate relationships. These people tend to turn inward rather than interact with others, and experience extreme anxiety in social situations. I was voted class clown by my senior class and I sang a Metallica song for the student body. I enjoy meeting new people and I consider almost everyone to be a friend.
I guess my point to all of this is psychological testing is designed to find problems with people whether they exist or not. Am I confident? Yes. Do I suffer from anxiety? No Do I ever get anxious? Occasionally, but it usually is associated with positive emotion. The problem with a custody evaluation is, after being paid several thousand dollars, an evaluator can’t say “they are both equally good parents.” Evaluators have to make a decision against someone and they sometimes turn to the psychological testing as “evidence” against a good parent.
If the psychological testing is a sure bet, why didn’t Dr. Connor speculate that my Ex could be a source of the communication problems? Dr. Connor wrote, “[Ex’s] results indicate that she is somewhat sensitive to real or imagined criticisms and at times, can react defensively to such. At times, her degree of sensitivity may compromise her objective reasoning.” Did I mention she divorced me because I had the same ADHD that I was diagnosed with before she married me?
Why am I responsible for all the problems?
Dr. Connor stated that I couldn’t co-parent because my ADHD caused communication problems with my Ex. The evaluation states:
“[Ex] has a history of obsessive-compulsive tendencies (on page 27 of the evaluation, Dr. Connor stops using “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” and uses “tendencies”) and there are still traits noted in her profile as well as in her clinical presentation. Her perseveration on issues tends to cause her extreme anxiety and makes it very difficult to view Dan objectively. With this being said; however in terms of her parenting the children, these traits do in fact, make her more organized and offers more routine for the children's day to day lives, which is essential especially in families of divorce.” Dr. Connor went on to write, “However, on an intimate or interpersonal level, [Ex] will need to address this issue in individual therapy if she hopes to re-establish herself in a romantic or intimate relationship where these traits can be quite detrimental.”
Dr. Connor based the majority of the evaluation on a person with OCD whose extreme anxiety prevented her from viewing me objectively, and who is in need of therapy because the OCD can be detrimental to intimate relationships. This is the same person whose parents claimed the OCD issues were caused by me. If I was the cause of her problems, why did Dr. Connor recommend that my Ex continue to seek treatment for her OCD. Dr. Connor wrote, “As the children grow older, these [OCD] tendencies could become problematic and create power struggles between [Ex] and the girls. At this age; however, her obsessive-compulsive traits may in fact, benefit the girls, given the divorce circumstances." Dr. Connor’s failed to mention anywhere in the evaluation or his testimony that my ADHD may cause problems in my relationship with the girls.