Psychosocial report

Psychosocial report
Published on: 15 January 2024

Table of contents

When there is no agreement between both parents, divorces, separations or proceedings to modify the measures of the regulatory agreements become long, complex and costly processes. But not only that. They can also be quite traumatic for the parents and, above all, for the children.

In this regard, one of the most valuable documents when determining custody and visiting arrangements is the psychosocial report. But what exactly is it and what is its purpose? Here we will try to answer both questions.

What is a psychosocial report?

The psychosocial report is nothing more than the document that reflects the assessment carried out by the psychosocial team on the father, mother and/or child. Its objective is to study and assess the relationships between the different members of the family in order to determine the most appropriate environment for the child.

Who can request it?

A psychosocial report of a child or of both parents is not mandatory in divorce proceedings. In fact, it is usually carried out when one of the parents requests it from the judge during contentious divorce proceedings. If the judge deems it appropriate, he or she will make it compulsory.

If the child is over 12 years of age, the child's examination may also be requested. This report is particularly useful when interim measures are requested before the psychological report has been carried out.
It should not be forgotten that more complex children are more difficult to assess. Psychologists are therefore prepared to use whatever resources they deem appropriate (toys, drawings, etc.) to obtain honest answers from them.

How long does it take?

This depends mainly on the degree of saturation of the psychosocial team attached to the court that is responsible for carrying out the report. Currently, it is so high that, in many cases, lawyers ask the judge for permission to have it carried out by an external psychologist.

This can be an advantage, as external psychologists generally spend more time preparing the report. They interview each member of the family separately and then together in order to draw the most accurate conclusions possible.

Questions in a psychosocial report

The psychosocial report is one of the most important pieces of evidence that can be presented in a custody trial, so it is always a good idea to prepare for the interview. Of course, you should always answer the questions honestly, as psychologists have a lot of experience in detecting lies and half-truths.

The assessment usually lasts approximately four hours. It is difficult to give examples of specific questions, as each psychologist can use the ones he or she deems appropriate depending on the specific case.

However, we will try to do so. Firstly, it is necessary to talk about open questions, which are the most complex to answer. This would be the case, for example, of "how is your relationship with your children at the moment", "how do you consider your relationship with your ex-partner to be" or "what has led you to request shared custody".

As is evident, these are questions that require an adequate argumentation and development. However, the psychologist also asks other much more specific questions, such as "what time do you usually leave for work and return home", "what is your child's favourite game or food" or "how far from your home is your children's school".

The conclusions of the psychosocial report

The psychologist will take note of all the answers given by the parents and the children and, based on his or her knowledge, will assess the family situation and make a series of recommendations. These will include, for example, what he or she considers to be the best custody arrangement for the child.

For example, a psychosocial report favourable to either parent can make the difference when awarding single-parent custody to one of them. Similarly, it can also be key to the judge's determination of the appropriateness of joint custody. It can even expose to the judge that he or she has detected signs of violence so that he or she can act accordingly.

It should be emphasised that judges take psychosocial reports very much into account when making their rulings in contentious divorce proceedings. In fact, once they have been issued, it is enough to read the conclusions to be more or less clear about what the sentence will consist of or whether provisional measures will be adopted.

Conclusions and advice

Therefore, under no circumstances should you go to the interview with the psychosocial team without having prepared for the interview beforehand. In this regard, lawyers specialising in family law are used to their clients facing this type of test during contentious divorce or separation proceedings. Therefore, they are able to provide the best advice in order to answer the questions properly and obtain a positive assessment.

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