A Public Health Crisis for Parental Responsibility Evaluations with Dr. Kathleen McNamara | Episode 91

Divorce at Altitude Podcast

When there are highly contentious cases involving the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court may need to appoint an expert to conduct an investigation. That’s where today’s guest comes in. Dr. Kathleen McNamara is a licensed psychologist and Parental Responsibility Evaluator (PRE) in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

As the name suggests, a PRE is a licensed individual who helps the court allocate parental responsibilities between parents in a way that will best meet the immediate and future needs of any children involved. As a PRE, Dr. McNamara plays a crucial role in helping parents develop effective methods for co-parent communication and coordination but, as you’ll discover in today’s episode, there are currently a number of challenges facing PREs across the country, including Colorado.

Listen in as Dr. McNamara shares her insights with Amy Goscha into what is being referred to as a nationwide health crisis as the number of evaluators dwindles and how she believes we can begin to address some of the complex issues facing PREs, emphasizing the importance of continued education and greater protection, and more.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • An introduction to Dr. McNamara and her private practice.
  • Her involvement with Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and other groups.
  • Defining Parental Responsibility Evaluation (PRE) and Dr. McNamara’s responsibilities.
  • The prerequisites for becoming a Parental Responsibility Evaluator.
  • Why Dr. McNamara believes that appointing a PRE should be the last resort.
  • Understanding the nuances of PREs and the ongoing training that is required.
  • The role that complete transparency and being open to scrutiny plays for PREs.
  • Some of the troubling trends taking place in the field, not just in Colorado but nationwide.
  • Why Dr. McNamara sees House Bill 21-1228 as a tipping point for many PREs.
  • The varying levels of experience among the 37 PREs left in Colorado.
  • Other challenges faced by evaluators in the field, including sub-standard work.
  • Cases when a child and family investigator (CFI) or a PRE is required.
  • Dr. McNamara’s work on the Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluation.
  • What she believes is necessary to encourage more PREs to join the field, including more research and greater protection.
  • Advice for family lawyers for navigating evaluations: educate yourself on the alternatives.
  • How Dr. McNamara believes we can begin to address the complex issues facing PREs.
  • Her advice for parents: minimize conflict and maximize relationships for your children.

What is Divorce at Altitude? 

Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado. 

If you have additional questions or would like to speak to one of our attorneys, give us a call at 970-429-5784 or email us at info@kalamaya.law.

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DISCLAIMER: THE COMMENTARY AND OPINIONS ON THIS PODCAST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE OR AREA TO OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY OF THESE ISSUES.

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