When Dr. Connor testified, he was rather quiet and his answers were short and simple. For a while, he really sounded like a very credible professional expert, until he uttered his custody recommendation. Dr. Connor testified that the parents were probably not able to communicate well enough for joint custody to work effectively. So he recommended that both of the parents should have full custody. No kidding.
I know, I know; you're asking, "how in the hell can both parents have full custody of one pre-teen child?" It's easy. Dr. Connor testified that he believed that custody should alternate from year to year. That's right. One parent this year and then the other parent the next. I'm sure that would resolve conflict. For those who think that I may have heard it wrong, believe me I didn't. I was just as shocked as you are. Dr. Connor claimed that he never made a recommendation like that before but thought it might work out in that situation. Nothing screams potential conflict like "Bye sweetie, it's time for your mom/dad to make all of the decisions this year. We'll do it my way again next year."
And people wonder why the family court system is so messed up. I have no idea how much the parents had to pay for this recommendation. Why do judges like Gayle Hoffman feel the need to appoint experts just to find out if there are conflicts between the parents? Rather than do her job that she is paid very well to do, Hoffman just pushed the responsibility off to another party. Judges like Hoffman like to point fingers at parents for wasting time and money during custody disputes, yet the judges are the ones who force parent to go to "experts" like Dr. Connor where they have to pay for the evaluation, pay to correct the evaluation, pay to dispute or present the evaluation, and then pay for Dr. Connor's appearance in Court so everyone can hear what ridiculous solution that Dr. Connor dreamed up to solve the problem. Obviously Judge Hoffman didn't follow the recommendation because it was probably the dumbest thing that she ever heard. So what does Judge Hoffman do? She berated the parents, one more than the other, because they had wasted so much time and money. Dr. Connor testified that he had been appointed by the Court to conduct three evaluations/updates of the child and parents. Three evaluations and several thousand dollars later, Dr. Connor concluded that the child's best interest would be best served by magically turning the kid into a tennis ball and serving the kid up at Wimbledon. Judge Gayle Hoffman was angry with the parents for wasting the Court's time. Maybe Judge Hoffman should have pointed her finger at herself and the Court for wasting everyone's time by sending the parents to Dr. Edward J Connor.