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(1) In a parenting plan evaluation, the psychologist shall maintain an unbiased, impartial role. The client is the child, and recommendations must be made which are in the best psychological interests of the child. The psychologist shall clarify with all parties, attorneys, and the court the nature of the psychologist's role as an objective evaluator.

(a) The psychologist shall act as an impartial evaluator of the parties, assessing relevant information, and informing and advising the court and other parties of the relevant factors pertaining to the parenting issue.

(b) The psychologist shall remain impartial, regardless of whether the psychologist is retained by the court or by a party to the proceeding, and regardless of whom is responsible for payment.

(c) If circumstances prevent the psychologist from performing in an impartial role, the psychologist shall attempt to withdraw from the case. (See ARM 24.189.807)

(d) If the psychologist is not able to withdraw, the psychologist must reveal any factors that may bias the psychologist's findings and/or compromise the psychologist's objectivity.

(e) Communication with parents or attorneys must be conducted in such a manner as to avoid bias. The psychologist must exercise discretion in informing parties or their attorneys of significant information that is gathered during the course of the evaluation. The psychologist shall not communicate essential information to one party's attorney without also communicating the information to the other party's attorney, and to the guardian ad litem, if one is appointed.

History: 37-1-131 and 37-1-136, MCA; IMP, 37-1-136 and 37-17-202, MCA; NEW, 2001 MAR p. 1742, Eff. 9/7/01; TRANS, from Commerce, 2004 MAR p. 2282.

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