Is a psychiatrist's opinion clear and convincing evidence?

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Is a psychiatrist's opinion clear and convincing evidence?

Postby Lysander » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:31 am

Will a psychiatrist's opinion be considered clear and convincing evidence at a termination hearing? For example, if he evaluates you and issues a report saying you're unfit to raise your kid, is that clear and convincing evidence of unfitness, assuming that all the facts (i.e. what you said, what you did, etc.) he relied on in reaching his conclusion are true?

Facts can be interpreted more than one way; for instance, if it's undisputed that your kid was wandering the streets unsupervised, one person might say that's evidence of unfitness, while another person might disagree. But is a psychiatrist's opinion on the proper interpretation of the facts at hand considered authoritative?

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Re: Is a psychiatrist's opinion clear and convincing evidence?

Postby LindaJM » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:20 pm

This is one of those things that might vary from state to state . . . I looked this up on Wikipedia: Burden of Proof.

It says, in part:

"Clear and convincing proof means that the evidence presented by a party during the trial must be highly and substantially more probable to be true than not and the trier of fact must have a firm belief or conviction in its factuality. In this standard, a greater degree of believability must be met than the common standard of proof in civil actions, which only requires that the facts as a threshold be more likely than not to prove the issue for which they are asserted."

So it seems that the believability would be the subjective judgement of the judge in your case. It might help to have your own psychiatrist (maybe from out-of-county) to counteract the effects of a CPS-chosen psychiatrist.
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Please keep in mind that none of us are lawyers and we can't give legal advice. We are simply telling you what we would do in a similar situation. It is to your advantage to get a lawyer.

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