Forensic Psychology

Gary Rich P.h. D.


During the past 39 years I have been involved, as a psychological expert, in several hundred child custody cases as well as criminal, administrative, and civil matters.  All court-related cases are complex and emotionally challenging.  My practice is dedicated to providing objective, comprehensive, and relevant evaluations in keeping with the psychological research and legal standards.   Please call me at (805) 650-9232 or email at if you have any questions about my services.

Service to Attorneys

Dr. Rick provides several types of expert forensic services for child custody disputes. They are briefly summarized on this page.  Dr. Rick has been licensed as a psychologist in California since 1980 and is current in meeting California Rules of Court requirements as a child custody evaluator.   Custody evaluations should meet the needs of the case.  Various forms of evaluation are described on this page.  The type of evaluation should be discussed with both attorneys prior to beginning the process.  Dr. Rick has suggested appointment addend  for various types of evaluation that are to be attached to form FL-327 used in California courts.  These attachments can be modified to better fit each case.  It is important to consider all referral questions of relevance to the court, especially if relocation is to be evaluated.

Work product evaluations, client preparation, and various types of mediation and therapy are available. Evaluation and testimony for criminal and civil matters may also be available.

Service For Parent/Litigants

Whether you are undergoing an evaluation or are receiving some other service, court-related activities are often emotionally and financially challenging.  Litigants often wonder about the objectivity of an evaluator and influence the evaluation may have in court.  These concerns can be discussed before an evaluation begins and are always discussed in the first session.  A discussion of bias and objectivity can be found on page 4.
Financial concerns are of greater in concern in the current economy than they have been in decades.  Evaluative work can be provided on a continuum from full evaluations to partial evaluations in a manner that can provide the court with helpful information without undue financial impact.  Costs of services can be estimated at the outset of the process to assure that no surprises occur at the end of the process.

Relocation (Move Away), Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse (FC§3111), and Parental Alienation are cases that require special concern.

General Description of Forensic Services

This summary is designed to provide attorneys and parent-litigants with information about options for psychological evaluations at a time when economic pressures appear to be at an all-time high.  It is not necessary to avoid reasonable professional evaluation or to enter into what might be a cost-prohibitive process.  The three types of evaluations described below are flexible.  A Partial Evaluation might rise to approximate a Comprehensive Evaluation or be limited to the level of a one-day evaluation.  Dr. Rick will be happy to discuss alternatives with attorneys or litigants

Comprehensive Child Custody Evaluation

 This evaluation is designed to address all issues related to the children’s interests in a case.  This evaluation typically includes all or most of the following procedures:  (1) two comprehensive interviews of each party, one at the beginning and one toward the end of the process; (2) two individual interviews of each child over four-years-old accompanied by a different parent each time; (3) Home visits or parent-child interactions in the office; (4) interviews in the office or on the telephone with collateral persons such as teachers, therapists, friends, and family members: (5) psychological tests of each parent, children, and/or others; and (6) a review of documents such as declarations, school records, and other written, digital, or taped materials.  CCCEs end with a written and lengthy document that usually includes recommendations to the Court.  They usually take several months and cost several thousand dollars.  In complex and highly contested cases a CCCE is desirable.

 Focused or Partial Evaluation

 When finances are limited or the focus is on some specific issues, a comprehensive may not be needed.  In a more limited evaluation, each parent is interviewed individually.  Next, the parents and children come to the office at the same time for a series of interviews designed to clarify the issues of concern.  Limited documents and collateral interviews may be conducted.  Such evaluations can be completed in less than one month and cost from two to four thousand dollars. 

 Solution Focused Evaluation (One day)

 When funds or time are short, a one day evaluation based on interviews of the parents and children in one day can be conducted and produce an oral or written outcome.  The results can be explained through a direct or telephonic conversation with counsel and/or the parties.  If scheduling permits, the results can be explained in court.  The basic evaluation costs one thousand dollars.  This is similar to a “recommending mediation” described below. 

In addition to evaluations, child custody case may benefit from services described below:

Recommending and Non-Recommending Mediation

Dr. Rick can assist parents in coming to an agreement regarding all matters related to children.  If mediation is unsuccessful a recommendation can be given only if both parties agreed in advance of the process.  Mediation may include counsel who can deal with monetary issues.  A completed or initial detailed Parenting Plan is the major goal of this process.  Billing is by the hour. 

 Critiquing Work Conducted by Others (Work Product Review)

When concerns are raised by the quality of a written report or therapy procedures, Dr. Rick will review written documentation and provide preliminary feedback as the attorney’s expert.  An extensive written critique, suggestions for challenging the work in court, and/or court testimony can be provided when warranted.

Litigant Preparation

Some litigants are overwhelmed by the evaluation process and may not present well because of this or other personal issues. A limited number of meetings with the client can be conducted to clarify the process, and assess the parent and making a positive presentation during the course of the evaluation conducted by another clinician.

Educational Seminars

Dr. Rick can provide brief or lengthy presentations to legal study groups, legal practices, and others on topics such as psychological testing, relocation issues, parental alienation, child sexual abuse, false allegations and other topics.