Good Cause has a Shelf Life When Ordering Psych Evals

From J.B. v. M.M., — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 2913287 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012):

While we acknowledge that “past conduct” may be taken into consideration when determining whether a parent has been able to meet the needs of the child, the information relied upon regarding the mother’s alleged inability to parent her daughter is over eight years old. Id. The child is now ten. Mental illness, alone, is insufficient to demonstrate the good cause required to order a psychological evaluation. See In re T.D., 537 So.2d 173, 175–76 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989) (finding, in part, that where there were no findings of abuse, abandonment or neglect, significant mental deficiencies by the mother were not enough to predicate a finding of prospective neglect in parental rights termination). Where there is scant, if any, evidence that the child is at risk of abuse, abandonment or neglect, beyond the mother’s mental illness, we find that the court departed from the law in ordering her evaluation.



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