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Richard Orsinger

Experts in Custody Litigation

In May, 2003, Richard Orsinger represented a father in a month-long custody trial in which a jury of twelve women awarded sole custody of a nine-year old boy to the father. The case involved the testimony of 27 fact witnesses, four psychiatrists, and five psychologists. “We needed to prove that the mother engaged in parental alienation against the father, and imported the nation’s leading expert on the subject from New Jersey,” says Orsinger. He also adds, “the experts played an important role in helping the jury to understand subtle behaviors that were having a negative effect on the child.” Through a combination of psychological testing, psychiatric evaluations, and testimony of lay witnesses, the jury was convinced to award custody of the boy to his father, the chief executive officer of several businesses.

The case demonstrates the importance of expert testimony in custody litigation. Richard is well-qualified for that kind of litigation, since he served as Editor-in-Chief of the State Bar of Texas Family Law Section’s Expert Witness Manual (1999), a two-volume treatise on the use of mental health experts in family law litigation. “I met regularly with a group of lawyers, psychologists and judges, for a period of two years in preparing the Manual, and in the process I learned the strengths and weaknesses of the mental health expert in custody litigation,” says Richard, who wrote many chapters in the book.

While it is always better to arrive at a well-structured agreement regarding custody of minor children, when that is impossible, then you need a well-planned, well-developed strategy to be sure that the best interests of the children are protected.

Board Certified in Family Law and Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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