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Using a Polygraph as Part of a Parenting Time Evaluation

Posted on in Child Custody

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerPolygraphs, also known as β€œlie detector tests,” are a fairly common trope in talk shows and crime dramas. In these fictional depictions, the subject is wired to the test and asked questions about his or her alleged crime, usually as the wires of the test move rapidly back and forth on the result paper. But are polygraph tests really used this way? No. Today, most polygraph tests are computerized. They are also not admissible in most courts of law. This includes Illinois. If your former partner asks you to take a polygraph test, do not feel like you have to – the results of the test have no value in the courtroom. You might be advised to undergo such a test if you are facing an accusation of child abuse or domestic violence. Do not take the test unless you have discussed it thoroughly with your attorney. You are under no legal obligation to take a polygraph test in any circumstance, nor are the results of one admissible in court. Talk to your family lawyer about the possibility of using a polygraph as part of your parenting time evaluation.

When Would a Polygraph be Used in a Parenting Time Evaluation?

You might be asked to undergo a polygraph test as part of a psychological evaluation. This could be to determine whether you or your former partner has been truthful about allegations of child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, or other issues that could potentially affect your parenting time agreement. Remember, although the results of a polygraph test are not admissible in court, they are allowed to be considered during a psychological evaluation.

So what does that mean for you? The results of your polygraph may be used to support other findings from your psychological evaluation. For example, your results might be used to support your claim that your former partner has a history of making false accusations. They might also reveal patterns, like immaturity or poor impulse control, that could indicate deeper psychological issues.

Polygraph tests work by measuring the subject's heart and respiration rates. They are inadmissible in court because their results cannot be scientifically reproduced – for one individual, simply being subjected to a polygraph can cause sweating and a heightened heart rate, which can give a false positive for deception while another could lie his or her way through the test without experiencing any of the physiological changes the test is designed to measure.

Work with a Kane County Family Attorney

Polygraphs are a controversial tool and in many cases, not considered to be worthwhile or valid. But do bring the subject up with your family attorney, especially as one relates to a psychological evaluation for your parenting time determination. It cannot hurt to educate yourself about polygraphs and their role in a parenting time evaluation. Contact our team of experienced Kane County family attorneys at the Goostree Law Group today to set up your initial legal consultation with our firm.

 

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/research/action/polygraph.aspx

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/assessment.aspx

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