Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

What Does A Custody/Parenting Time Expert Report Look Like? (Part 3)

CLINICAL ASSESSMENT, TEST RESULTS, AND DISCUSSION FOR MR. JAMES JONES, PLAINTIFF:

In terms of general presentation, Mr. Jones was quite pleasant and appeared forthright in his answers. He attended all requested sessions on time and appeared to cooperate with the evaluation process. Similarly, his statements generally did not appear to reflect excessive personal virtue or extreme negativity towards Ms. Williams.

In terms of the background, Mr. Jones was a 43 year old male at the time of the evaluation with approximately 17 years of education. At the time of the evaluation, Mr. Jones was a self employed attorney. His office is in East Brunswick. Mr. Jones indicated that his position provides for a great degree of flexibility and does not require extensive overnight travel. Moreover, he is able to adjust his work schedule to accommodate custody/parenting time arrangements.

In terms of specific clinical responses which might reflect limited capacity (including Mr. Jones’ ability to participate in this evaluation), Mr. Jones appeared oriented to time, place, and person. His speech was clear, his thought process was coherent, and he understood tha nature of this evaluation.

Mr. Jones also did not appear to present any significant symptoms current gross psychopathology such as schizophrenia which might impact his ability to parent or participate in this evaluation based upon the clinical interview. There was no evidence of formal thought disorder (i.e. loose associations, flight of ideas, blocking, neologisms, circumstantial or tangential thinking). Mr. Jones denied both auditory and visual hallucinations. These findings were consistent with data provided by Dr. Hoffman, collateral contacts, and his objective psychometric testing. (See below).

As previously noted, Mr. Jones denied any historical data regarding his family of origin which research suggests might impact his later ability to parent. Specifically, Mr. Jones denied a familial history of abuse, substance abuse/addiction, medical issues, punitive discipline, financial problems, etc.

However Mr. Jones did note a personal history of being shy and avoidant in social situations. Similarly, he admits that he was unmotivated at school and preferred playing to attending academics. These underlying personality characteristics appear to persist and it is important to note that research suggests that they are not likely to change.

It is also important to note that there was virtually no support regarding allegations made by Ms. Williams which might reflect current mental health issues. Specifically, clinical data and objective psychometric testing (see below) does not support/confirm Ms. Williams allegations that Mr. Jones is similar to those individuals who currently suffer from an unaddressed psychopathy such as an active bipolar disorder, being depressed, acting in an emotionally abusive fashion, substance abuse, etc.

Furthermore, there is no recent associated data which might be reasonably anticipated if Ms. Williams’ apparently heartfelt allegations regarding Mr. Jones current mental status were accurate. For example, Mr. Jones has not been arrested or found guilty of driving under the influence, there are no recent police reports which might confirm or give rise to concerns, there has been no “Division” findings or intervention plans, etc.

Moreover, it appears that Ms. Williams’ understandable concerns are largely based upon two factors. First, she appears to base her allegations upon events that occurred prior or around the time of the parties divorce. At that time (approximately 6 years ago), Mr. Jones displayed behaviors which Ms. Williams understandably found extremely upsetting. In fact, Mr. Jones’ behaviors were so extreme that was hospitalized for approximately one week in 2007. (Regretfully, although Mr. Jones admits to being depressed and being hospitalized, he did not provide records which might have provided greater clarity around his functioning at that time).

However, subsequent to his hospitalization he has been under the long term care of Dr. Hoffman. Moreover, it is important to note that Dr. Hoffman indicated that Mr. Jones is compliant, attends therapy on a regular basis, and is asymptomatic. Thus, Ms. Williams appears to be basing her current allegations upon Mr. Jones’ pre-treatment status.

This is not to say that Mr. Jones does not require ongoing treatment. In fact, Mr. Jones is well aware that ongoing treatment is required to make sure his prior psychopathy does not return, and he indicated a willingness to engage in therapy in the future. (See Recommendations section).

Second, Ms. Williams appears to base her allegations regarding Mr. Jones’ mental status upon behaviors which she finds objectionable. However, it is likely that Mr. Jones’ behavior stems from personality features which are not necessarily reflective of psychopathy. For example, Mr. Jones does not appear to return emails in a timely fashion. Ms. Williams appears to attribute Mr. Jones’ lack of response to underlying psychopathy and/or poor parenting skills. Regretfully, Ms. Jones does not appear to be cognizant of the fact that no matter how annoying she may find Mr. Jones’ lack of a timely response, Mr. Jones’ behavior does not necessarily reflect psychopathy. Rather, within all degree of psychological probability, Mr. Jones’ behavior can be better attributed to long standing personality characteristics including shyness and social avoidance which have been present since his childhood.

(Note: The issue of Mr. Jones responding in a timely fashion was addressed in a parenting coordinator recommendation where both parties are now required to return emails within 48 hours. Similarly, a parenting coordination recommendation was developed whereby the parties are supposed to send a pre and post transition email to each other detailing what occurred during the visitation, homework, etc. so that they are able to seamlessly address the children’s needs).

Thus, it appears that, within all degree of psychological probability, Mr. Jones does not have an unaddressed “fitness factor” or suffer from an untreated mental disorder which might impact his current ability to parent/co-parent based upon his clinical presentation psychometric testing, collateral contacts, and history over the past 6 years.

Likewise, it is important that Mr. Jones did display a degree of insight and sensitivity regarding the couples’ history and current litigation. Mr. Jones went on to state that despite unresolved feelings he has regarding Ms. Williams, he strongly supports Ms. Williams’ parenting time because he believes it is John and Jane’s best interests.

Similarly, Mr. Jones appeared to give a rather balanced picture regarding parties parenting. He indicated that Ms. Williams often takes the “lead” in arranging for the children’s needs. For example, he confirmed that Ms. Williams was the parent who was responsible for initiating John’s tutoring, the children’s medical appointments etc. Yet he also indicated/displayed a degree of frustration regarding 1) the current schedule whereby the children must spend Sunday nights at their mother’s residence which precludes his family from having an entire weekend and necessitates that the children spend extra time in the car for no apparent reason, 2) Ms. Williams’ alleged feelings towards Mr. Jones and her inability to work cooperatively, and 3) ongoing issues around the holiday schedule.

With respect to his parenting, Mr. Jones made statements and provided data suggests that he is affectionate and well bonded to his children. For example, during the home visit, spontaneous physical affection was noted between both children and Mr. Jones. Likewise, he provides for the children’s transportation, knows the children’s preferences, supports their recreational activities, has taken John for tutoring during his parenting time, takes Jane horseback riding, etc.

With respect to future custody/parenting time plans, as noted above, Mr. Jones would like the Sunday night transition to be eliminated. Mr. Jones finds the Sunday night transition objectionable for several reasons including: 1) it interferes with his weekend and time for the children to have an uninterrupted weekend with their family, 2) it is unnecessary because the children return to him either Monday morning or after school on Monday, 3) it requires that the children spend additional time being transported to Ms. Williams’ residence, 4) Ms. Williams moved further distance since the initial parenting time arrangement was made which requires Mr. Jones to bear a greater burden.

Also, with respect to future custody/parenting time plans, Mr. Jones would like Ms. Williams to be more supportive of Ms. Jones involvement. Mr. Jones indicated that in no fashion was he or Ms. Jones trying to replace or usurp Ms. Williams’ role. However, he believes that Ms. Williams needs to support his merged family because the children love Ms. Jones, look to her for direction and she is a significant figure in their lives.

The MMPI-2, with appropriate norms using the preferred computer administration and scoring, was use to screen for psychological problems which might impact Mr. Jones’ ability to parent or c-parent. Although research has shown that the MMPI-2 does not directly predict and individual’s ability to parent, it does predict underlying personality traits and psychopathology which might in some way impact an individual’s ability to parent (Ackerman).

The MMPI-2 was used as part of the standard protocol because: 1) it is the only objective psychometric instrument that meets both the “Frye Standard” and “Daubert Standard” (i.e. recognized use within the field, reliability, and validity) (Ben-Porath), and 2) there are no objective psychometric instruments which actually predict parenting that meet either the “Frye Standard” or “Daubert Standard” due to questions regarding construct validity (Resendes) and/or the instruments not being widely used or accepted in the field (Ackerman).

Objective testing validity scales (VRIN=61; TRIN=57F; F=58; FB=67; FP=56; L-48; K=35; S=35) were highly compatible with the clinical assessment. Importantly, research (Butcher; Green) indicates that Mr. Jones responded in a highly cooperative fashion which is not typical with litigants who are involved in custody disputes. Moreover, his apparent cooperation with the testing can be easily interpreted to suggest a general cooperation with the entire evaluation.

As a result, research (Butcher; Green) indicates that Mr. Jones created a statistically valid profile which appears to be an accurate reflection of his current personality functioning. Moreover, his profile was consistent with other data revealed lending higher concurrent validity.

With respect clinical scales and supplemental scales, Mr. Jones’ scores were well within the “normal range” including those that deal with addiction, anger, and emotional abuse which are areas of concern for Ms. Williams.

However, he responded to items in a fashion as to indicate some characteristics such as low self-confidence that are likely to make him vulnerable to symptoms of depression and anxiety under stressful conditions.

Research also suggests that Mr. Jones responded to items in a similar fashion as those individuals who are: 1) shy and inhibited in social situations, 2) are quiet, submissive, and often lack self-confidence, 3) experience a degree of negativism and view relationships as threatening, and 4) experience a degree of negativism and view relationships as threatening, and 4) experiences low motivation and harbors many negative work attitudes.

Importantly, Mr. Jones’ profile is not similar to those individuals who: 1) engage in a pervasive pattern of behavior with the intent of abuse, control, or harassment, 2) have an elevated level of anger, hostility, or poor impulse control which might predispose them to domestic violence or intimate partner violence, 3) have an underlying personality disorder which might predispose them to acting out in an aggressive or violent fashion, and 4) have an underlying substance abuse or alcohol abuse problem.

Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that Mr. Jones: 1) had the capacity to participate in this evaluation, 2) produced consistent clinical and objective psychometric testing data indicating Mr. Jones is well within the normal range and allegations regarding current unaddressed mental health issues and substance abuse issues were not verified and do not appear to be present at the current time; however, he should continue to receive mental health services in order to make sure prior issues remain in remission, 3) is well bonded to John and Jane including supporting John and Jane’s parenting time with Ms. Williams, and 4) presented some data suggesting that the children would benefit from minor modifications to the parenting time schedule.

CLINICAL ASSESSMENT, TEST RESULTS, AND DISCUSSION FOR MS. MARY WILLIAMS, DEFENDANT:

In terms of general presentation, Ms. Williams was also extremely pleasant and affable. Ms. Williams attended all sessions on time and appeared to try her best to be cooperative. However, at times she provided answers which were extremely detailed and appeared tangential.

In terms of background, Ms. Williams was a 50 year old female at the time of the evaluation with approximately 13 years of education. Ms. Williams is the President of Excel Environmental Resources in New Jersey. As such, Ms. Williams stated that her work has some degree of flexibility and she does not have to travel extensively for her job.

(Note: Bothe parties have a demonstrated history of job accommodations in order to provide transportation to/from Oratory Preparatory School. They also indicated that they do not anticipate any occupational changes or relocations which might impact the same).

In terms of specific clinical responses, Ms. Williams was oriented to time, place and person. She provided no clinical responses reflecting limited capacity that would impact her ability to participate in this evaluation or parent. Her speech was clear, her thought process was coherent, and she understood the nature of this evaluation.

Similarly, Ms. Williams did not appear to present any significant symptoms current gross psychopathology such as schizophrenia which might impact her ability to parent based upon the clinical interview. Ms. Williams did not present the form and/or degree of current symptoms to confirm any underlying diagnosis of substance abuse. There was no evidence of formal thought disorder (i.e. loose associations, flight of ideas, blocking, neologisms, circumstantial or tangential thinking). Ms. Williams denied both auditory and visual hallucinations.

However, as noted above, Ms. Williams also presented data that was extremely detailed and often gave tangential answers to questions asked. Her response pattern gave the appearance of wanting to provide extremely detailed information and complete answers to support her position rather than a lack of comprehension, diminished capacity, or poor contact with reality. (In fact, when asked about the form of her answers, Ms. Williams admitted that she often gave highly detailed responses which were an asset at her job).

However, Ms. Williams made allegations that appeared to lack objective support and reflect a heighted degree of interpersonal sensitivity. For example, as previously stated, Ms. Williams alleges that Mr. Jones: 1) Smokes marijuana based upon his past history, 2) continues to suffer from mental disorders based upon his past history, and 3) continues to have an anger management issue based upon his past behaviors. Yet, there was no objective data presented to support Ms. Williams’ allegations as they pertain to the current case.

Similarly, Ms. Williams made allegations reflecting a heightened degree of interpersonal sensitivity with respect to Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones’ behavior. Specifically, she indicated that found it objectionable that Ms. Jones responded to emails versus Mr. Jones. Ms. Williams went onto suggest that Mr. Jones was refusing to respond due to his underlying mental status and that Ms. Jones was trying to insert herself into a parenting role. Again, there was virtually no data to objectively support Ms. Williams’ allegations.

Likewise, Ms. Williams appeared to demonstrate an increased level of interpersonal sensitivity when Ms. Jones purchased Jane’s first bra. Although Ms. Williams emotional response is completely understandable (Ex: hurt at not being involved in this important rite of passage as Jane’s mother), Ms. Williams attributing an underlying motive to Ms. Jones’ behavior appeared to lack objective support.

With respect to her family of origin and its impact on Ms. Williams’ ability to parent/co-parent, Ms. Williams denied any historical data regarding her family of origin which research suggests might impact the same. Specifically, Ms. Williams denied a familial history of abuse, substance abuse/addiction, medical issues, punitive discipline, financial problems, etc.

With respect to more recent history including bonding, Ms. Williams has historically acted as the primary caretaker. She was and is clearly affectionate with Jane and John. She appeared to have provided age appropriate direction, reassurance, and love. She knows Jane and John’s preferences, likes, and dislikes. She takes great pride in being a mother. Similarly, she has been the parent who historically addressed Jane and John’s educational needs and taken both children to virtually all medical appointments.

Importantly, no data was provided to suggest that Ms. Williams engages in behaviors which might directly place Jane or John in danger or harm. There is no data to support the notion that Ms. Williams has engaged in corporal punishment or abuse.

Likewise, there was no data presented to suggest that Ms. Williams engages in behavior which would lead to estrangement, alienation, alignment, etc.

Similarly, Ms. Williams did not present any clinical symptoms to those individuals who experience emotional abuse, domestic violence, a pervasive pattern of control, or harassment. Moreover, Ms. Williams’ objective testing does not support the notion that she is similar to those individuals who have unresolved psychopathy or to being the victim of emotional or verbal abuse. (Please see below.)

Furthermore, similar to data revealed by Mr. Jones, there were no significant factors such as unaddressed special needs, significant change in circumstances (i.e. death, confinement to a mental institution, relocation, etc.), which need to be directly addressed at this time.

However, Ms. Williams did express additional concerns regarding the current parenting time schedule and use of the parenting coordinator. She indicated that the current schedule does not foster the children’s academic schedule because she must follow up on homework and test preparations which Mr. Jones does not do. As a result, Ms. Williams would like the parenting time schedule to be revised so that she has more time during the first part of the school week in order to follow up on the children’s academics because Mr. Jones does not do so.

Likewise, Ms. Williams believes that certain modifications are still required to the holiday schedule. (Note: The holiday schedule has been previously addressed over a series of meetings/emails with the parenting coordinator. Although largely resolved, some issues remained which were deferred to this evaluation. (Please see Recommendations section.)

With respect to other considerations regarding any future custody/parenting time plan, Ms. Williams supports Mr. Jones’ involvement. In fact, she wishes that Mr. Jones was more involved with the children’s schoolwork and responded in a more timely fashion to her emails in regards to same.

Thus, I was left with a similar clinical impression as my impression with Mr. Jones. Specifically, Ms. Williams did not present any symptoms of current, gross psychopathy. Moreover, it appears that if Ms. Williams were to parent alone, she would do it quite well.

However, based upon her clinical presentation, it does appear that Ms. Williams has underlying personality characteristics of hypervigilance and heightened interpersonal sensitivity which are negatively impacting the parties’ ability to co-parent. Moreover, Ms. Williams’ personality appears highly incompatible with Mr. Jones’ underlying personality.

As a result, any future custody/parenting time schedule needs to help both parents address their own issues which appear to be negatively impacting the current situation. (See Recommendations section.)

As previously noted, the MMPI-2, with appropriate norms using the preferred computer administration and scoring, was used to screen for psychological problems which might impact Ms. Williams’ ability to parent or co-parent. Although research has shown that the MMPI-2 does not directly predict an individual’s ability to parent, it does predict underlying personality traits and psychopathology which might in some way impact an individual’s ability to parent (Ackerman).

Also, as noted before, the MMPI-2 was used as part of the standard protocol because: 1) it is the only objective psychometric instrument that meets both the “Frye Standard” and “Daubert Standard” (i.e. recognized use within the field, reliability, and validity) (Ben-Porath), and 2) there are no objective psychometric instruments which actually predict parenting that meet either the “Frye Standard” or “Daubert Standard” due to questions regarding construct validity (Resendes) and/or the instruments not being widely used or accepted in the field (Ackerman).

Objective testing validity scales (VRIN=34; TRIN=58T; F=44; FB=46; FP=41; L=42; K=61; S=61) were very compatible with the clinical assessment. Specifically, validity scores and research (Butcher; Greene) suggests that Ms. Williams responded to the items in a highly cooperative fashion which is not typical with litigants who are involved in custody disputes. Moreover, her response pattern suggests a general cooperation with the entire evaluation.

As a result, Ms. Williams responded to the items in a fashion as to create a statistically valid profile which appears to be an accurate reflection of her current personality functioning.

Similarly, Ms. Williams approach to the evaluation and the data revealed was highly similar to other information provided. As a result, Ms. Williams test results appear to have a high degree of concurrent validity.

With respect to her clinical scales, Ms. Williams was not within the normal range and had significant elevations on the Pa scale. Research (Butcher; Greene) indicates that Ms. Williams’ responses are indicative of a significant degree of hypervigilance and a heightened interpersonal sensitivity. Importantly, research also indicates that Ms. Williams’ heightened degree of hypervigilence and interpersonal sensitivity cannot be solely attributed to the current litigation. Moreover, research indicates that Ms. Williams’ underlying personality may predispose her to oversensitivity and mistrust in regards to co-parenting.

When discussing her hypervigilance and heightened sense of interpersonal sensitivity with Ms. Williams, she readily admitted to the same. Interestingly, she saw these characteristics as an asset and attributed her success as an entrepreneur to same. Likewise she saw her hypervigilance as an asset because it has allowed her to “stay on top of issues” like John’s special education needs.

However, research (Butcher; Greene) also goes on to indicate that Ms. Williams produced a test profile which is similar to those individuals who are extremely sensitive and rigid. They can: 1) overthink, hold grudges, can be guarded, and appear to experience a lack of trust, and 2) have difficulty compromising. They are likely to find it difficult to “forgive and forget”.

Yet, it is important to note that Ms. Williams’ objective psychometric testing profile is not similar to those individuals w ho: 1) engage in a pervasive pattern of abuse, control, harassment, or domestic violence, 2) experience post-traumatic stress disorder which is often found engage in victims of abuse, and 3) have a substance abuse problem.

Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that Ms. Williams: 1) had the capacity to participate in this evaluation, 2) presented clinical data which suggests she does not have any severe underlying gross psychopathy including current symptoms indicative of a fitness factor or being abused, 3) has a documented history of being the primary caretaker for the children, and 4) made a consistent series of allegations regarding Mr. Jones which cannot be objectively verified which give rise to concerns about hypervigilance, apparent sensitivity, co-parenting, and ability to move beyond the current litigation.

DISCUSSION OF CLINICAL ASSESSMENTS AND TEST RESULTS:

Based upon inspection of the data, provided materials, clinical interviews with the parties, objective testing, observations and interviews with Jane and John, collateral contact, my clinical experience, and research the following points were revealed.

First, neither party presented any data to suggest that there was a recent change in circumstances which would necessitate major alterations to the current custody/parenting time schedule on a psychological basis. For example, there are no restraining orders, neither party has been confined to a mental institution or prison, died, moved needs to relocate for work, etc.

However it should be noted that the parties have moved and remarried since the initial MSA. As a result, there has been a history of modifications to the original MSA made through counsel or the parenting coordinator.

Second, research consistently suggests and indicates that the parties’ ability to communicate and cooperate is a significant factor both with respect to current custody arrangements as well as the child’s future psychological adjustment (Ackerman; Stahl; Kelly).

Over the course of this evaluation, Mr. Jones stated that he often found himself hesitant to communicate with Ms. Williams due to her overbearing nature. It appears that Mr. Jones hesitance is long standing in nature and reflects his underlying personality. It should also be noted that his prior hesitance to communicate with Ms. Williams might be easily attributed to his previously untreated psychopathy which led to his hospitalization in 2007. (Note: As noted above, Mr. Jones has remained in treatment with Dr. Hoffman. Dr. Hoffman report that Mr. Jones is compliant with therapy and medication and is asymptomatic at this time.)

Similarly, over the course of this evaluation, Ms. Williams indicated that she still found it difficult to communicate with Mr. Jones due to his history of abuse and violence, mental status, substance abuse, and refusal to respond. Ms. Williams also indicated that she often finds herself lacking trust and being very vigilant. As a result, she now relies mostly on emails (Note: As previously noted, the parties have come to an agreement vis-à-vis the parenting coordinator to respond to emails within 48 hours and to provide the other parent with a pre/post transfer email.)

Thus, it appears that both parties underlying personalities impact their ability to communicate and cooperate. As a result, it appears that ongoing therapeutic assistance for both parties, continued use of emails, and verification of sobriety is necessary to foster communications between the parties. (Please see Recommendations section.)

Third, psychological fitness and psychological status of the parent are often considered a significant psychological variable in custody litigation (Ackerman; Rohrabacher). Furthermore, the research consistently suggests that presence of a psychological problem can adversely affect the individual’s ability to parent and act in a child’s best interests (Challacombe; Ostler).

In this case no clinical data was provided or revealed to suggest that either party suffers from any current gross psychological condition that might impact custody such as: 1) an acute thought disorder, or 2) specific behaviors such as alcoholism or compulsive gambling.

Specifically, no sufficient clinical data was derived or provided to support the notion that Mr. Jones has an current underlying fitness factor, has a substance abuse issue, or is emotional abusive. Furthermore, Mr. Jones does not appear to have engaged in purposeful alienation.

Likewise, with respect to Ms. Williams, no sufficient clinical data was derived or provided to support the notion that Ms. Williams has a current underlying fitness factor. Similarly, it does not appear that Ms. Williams has engaged in purposeful alienation.

With respect to other data which might suggest current underlying fitness questions, neither party reported DYFS or DCPP findings, recent institutionalizations, ongoing extensive police involvement, etc. which might suggest, reflect, or support a fitness question.

Thus, there was a lack of data to reach a confirmed fitness factor for either party despite the presence of underlying personality characteristics of avoidance, hypervigilance, etc.

Rather, within all degree of psychological probability, it is likely that the parties respective underlying personalities serve as the basis for a “chicken and the egg” scenario which fuels ongoing co-parenting conflict. For example, (to start at anywhere in the cycle) Ms. Williams sends Mr. Jones an email to stay “on top of things”. Mr. Jones fails to respond in a timely fashion due to his underlying avoidance. Mr. Jones’ failure to respond in a timely fashion only increases Ms. Williams’ underlying hypervigilance and desire to stay on top of things. In turn, Ms. Williams sends another email feeling frustrated and victimized. In turn, Mr. Jones feels attacked, withdraws further, and the cycle continues.

Fourth, with respect to special needs, no data was presented which indicated that Jane has a special needs or an educational factor which needs to be directly addressed vis-à-vis the custody/parenting time plan.

However, there was consistent data presented to indicate that John has a history of special education needs. Although John is not receiving direct services beyond the “accommodations” provided at Oratory Preparatory School at the current time, it does appear that John requires consistency and follow through with respect to completion of his homework. Although both parties agree that John has special needs, it is clear that how the parties address the same has been source of conflict between the parties.

Fifth, as previously noted, research consistently indicates that parenting time on a frequent basis with both parents is essential for later psychological, social adjustment, and to prevent estrangement in older children. (Deutch; Kelly; Carter; Kuenhle). However, research also indicates that the lack of conflict between parents is also essential for psychological and social adjustment. (Carter; Kelly)

Thus, in this case there was no data provided to support deviation from time with both parties on either a logical or psychological best interest basis. In fact, just the opposite is true given the potential for alienation and/or estrangement (Carter). However, the time needs to be adjusted in order to address John’s needs and in order to reduce conflict between the parties. (The current schedule where there is frequent switching appears to only be exacerbating problems.)

Likewise, time with both parties is possible on a practical basis because both parties plan to remain in the same geographic area and use the children’s school as the transfer point.

Likewise a carefully crafted and adhered to schedule will hopefully decrease hostility between the parties. As previously stated, it is essential for both parties to decrease hostility because it is likely to adversely impact Jane and John long term psychological development, academic performance, and relationships.

Sixth, neither party provided any data to support the notion that they have current physical problems (i.e. cancer, chronic heart disease, etc.) which might impact custody arrangements on a logical basis.

Seventh, neither party provided any data to support the notion that there are pending legal issues which might impact custody/parenting time arrangements.

Eighth, neither party provided any data to support the notion of a consistent history of refusing parenting time, verified safety issues, etc.

Thus, it appears that the custody/parenting plan will need to take into account and reach a balance between: 1) the apparent fitness, communications and cooperation of the parties, 2) Jane’s and John’s needs and psychological status, 3) the parties’ ability to focus and affirmatively support Jane’s and John’s best interests, and 4) the need to maintain exposure to both parties while reducing conflict in order to facilitate/foster ongoing relationships.