For over 32 years, Dr. Loveland’s office has been filled with boisterous and strong-willed children, kids with attention and concentration problems, children with a variety of learning disabilities, teens struggling for independence, parents with white knuckles dealing with all of the above, adults dealing with their own unique challenges, and families going through major changes related to marital separation and divorce. On the one hand, the practice involved a wonderful mix of individual and family therapy. On the other hand, Dr. Loveland long ago began providing comprehensive custody and parenting plan evaluations that have now become the standard in Oregon and across the country. Dr. Loveland retired the therapy side of the practice in 2008, and forensic services are now the sole focus of his practice. The welfare and best interest of children remain the practice’s top priority.
Many divorcing couples find a way to settle their divorce and to reach an agreement about their children’s living arrangement without any outside assistance beyond the help of their family law attorneys, who by and large are wonderfully child-friendly professionals. However, for very good reason, many divorcing couples are unable to do this on their own or with the help of their attorneys. In those cases the Court may ask for assistance from mental health professionals who are experienced in child development and divorce related issues. The Court frequently asks for assistance in cases involving chronic parental conflict, domestic violence, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, intractable expectations of one parent or both parents, a parent’s desire to move elsewhere with the children, and any number of other family or parenting issues that do not fit easily into statutory parameters. When an evaluation is requested by the Court, an appropriate court order is signed. For Dr. Loveland to proceed, the court order or stipulated court order must be consistent with Dr. Loveland’s policies and procedures, which can be provided to family law attorneys upon request.
Custody and parenting plan evaluations involve a thorough assessment of the family system, the marital and parenting history, the individual characteristics and needs of all family members, and any other family issues that relate to the statute upon which the Court must make a decision. (In Oregon, ORS 107.137). In most cases, once an evaluation is complete, a recommendation is made to the Court regarding what custodial and parenting plan arrangement might be in the welfare and best interest of the children. In an overwhelming number of cases in which Dr. Loveland is involved, these evaluations result in a comfortable settlement that serves the children well. In the cases that must be litigated, the evaluation can serve as a valuable resource to the Court in resolving final divorce and custody issues.
Limited Additional Services
In the post-divorce period, there are some parents who are unable to create and participate in a civil and comfortable co-parenting arrangement for their children’s benefit. These are typically labeled “high conflict” cases, and the entire mental health and family law field recognized for years that the Court is not the proper venue for achieving some modicum of peace within these families. In Oregon, the Court can order the appointment of a parenting coordinator who is empowered by the Court to assist the family in settling issues that would ordinarily result in pleadings for various modifications or taking an ex-spouse back to court for contempt of existing court orders. Parenting coordinators also assist with parent/child reunifications and/or cases where a parenting plan must be “phased in” for a child’s benefit. The Court retains final jurisdiction and authority, of course, but the use of a parenting coordinator can lead to an eventual truce that benefits the children and serves as a venue for settling any unforeseen issues in the parenting plan. Dr. Loveland provides these services on a limited basis and only as time allows.
Dr. Loveland has been around long enough to have “seen it all,” and he is often asked to consult with family law attorneys regarding cases that might have particularly unique features or that have involved unusual evaluation results from other custody and parenting plan evaluators. This consultation work is accepted only on a case by case basis and only as time allows. Attorneys are welcome to contact Dr. Loveland for more information as well as his availability.
Beginning as a young psychology intern teaching parenting classes, Dr. Loveland has been presenting at various workshops and seminars throughout his career. These engagements have involved nearly any topic related to child development and family life, and have more recently involved presentations to family law professionals regarding custody and parenting plan evaluations as well as the very difficult issues associated with relocation and “move away” issues for children. You are welcome to contact Dr. Loveland for more information as well as his availability for speaking engagements.
Robert J. Loveland, Ph.D., P.C.
1660 Willamette Falls Drive
West Linn, OR 97068