Expert Testimony

Lady Justice statue with document ring binders in law office

Jennifer J. Harman, PhD. has served as an expert subject matter witness on numerous civil and criminal cases within and outside of the State of Colorado (e.g., New Mexico, Nebraska, Washington, Idaho). Her role has primarily been as a "blind-to-the-case" subject matter expert witness who can educate the court about research on parental alienation and other forms of family violence. This type of testimony includes an overview of past and current research tailored to the particulars of the case (e.g., false memories). Dr. Harman is not a custody evaluator, nor does she currently conduct clinical assessments of clients. Her fee for expert witness work is based on an hourly rate and a retainer is required.

Dr. Harman is not able to definitively diagnose parental alienation; however, it is important to understand that a clinical diagnosis of other forms of family violence (e.g., domestic violence, child neglect) is not needed to determine whether it is occurring, and such assessments are oftentimes conducted by bachelor's level mental health or legal professionals. The same standard of determination should be applied to cases where parental alienation is suspected, however such a determination should be made by someone who has been trained on the assessment of parental alienation.

In a recent paper published in Psychology, Public Policy & Law, , Drs. Harman and Lorandos (2020) found that among appellate court cases in the U.S. where parental alienation was determined to have occurred, 30% of the cases involved the court coming to this determination independent of any third party or court-appointed opinion. That said, if the client would prefer a determination to be made by a custody evaluator and they are unable to find a custody evaluator who has a specialization in, or expertise to assess parental alienation, Dr. Harman can be appointed by the court as a parental alienation expert to work with a court appointed evaluator.