Psychological Evaluation in a California Divorce, Part 2

If a divorce involves children, then a court or a parent may request a Child Custody Evaluation, which is also known as a 730 Evaluation. In our previous article, we explain more about the custody evaluation process and the various data collection methods. This article will focus on the psychological testing portion, in particular the commonly used test, the MMPI-2. Today we will identify some of the red flags that the MMPI-2 is seeking to test for, but with the caveat that one of the flags that the test is supposed to identify is honesty in answers. 

Thus, this article gives information on some of the factors that are tested, but for most people, the best practice is to answer all questions as honestly as possible and not try to “beat the test,” since the test is trying to measure for people who are gaming it. This article is a very generalized summary of a complex test, so the information is intended only for general educational purposes and not as a guide on how to take the test. The source for this article can be found here:  

What is the MMPI-2?

  • MMPI-2 stands for Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2. 
  • It is a 500+ questionnaire of true and false questions that individuals answer for themselves, and the responses help mental health professionals evaluate symptoms of mental illness or personality disorders. 

What were the recommendations explained in more detail in the first article?

  • Answer all of the questions, do not be surprised to see health related questions as this test is not used exclusively for divorce cases. Do not try to trick the test by answering all true or all false. Be aware that the test may have the same or similar questions early and later in the test to try to flag people who are answering inconsistently. 

 Psychopathic Deviate Testing. 

  • Some questions are designed to identify people who are impulsive, strive for immediate gratification, are impatient, easily frustrated, have poor judgment, high risk-taking, are self-centered and selfish. The psychopathic deviate has a paradigm of using others for their own purposes.  


  • Some of the questions are designed to flag people who show psychotic behavior, disturbed thinking, delusions of persecution, or ideas of grandeur. They look for people who are impulsive, impatient, have poor judgment and risk taking and who feel mistreated and picked on, angry and resentful, who harbor grudges and use projection as a defense. 

 Other flags to watch for:

  • Anxiety – sleep difficulties, worries, poor concentration.
  • Fears – many specific fears such as blood, germs, high places animals, natural disasters, etc. 
  • Obsessiveness – difficulty making decisions, counting a lot, saving unimportant things, worrying a lot, being overwhelmed easily. 
  • Depression – depressive thoughts, feeling sad, being uninterested and uncertain in the future, being unhappy, crying easily, feeling hopeless and empty. Thoughts of suicide or wishing they were dead. Thinking people have unpardonable sins. 
  • Health concerns – many physical systems across several body systems.
  • Bizarre Mentation – any type of hallucination, feeling plotted against, thinking someone is trying to poison them. Thinking they have special powers or a special mission.
  • Anger – hothead, impatient, grouchy, feeling like being violent. 
  • Cynicism – expecting the worst of others, thinking people are not trustworthy, generally negative attitudes about people.
  • Antisocial practices – behavior problems in the past, trouble with the law, belief that it is ok to break the law. 

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

At the Law Office of David Knecht, we are very familiar with the custody evaluation process and the psychological testing aspect of the 730 Evaluation. We have extensive experience in family law. We can help you feel confident in achieving your goals in a California divorce. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.