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Richard Maxfeild Custody Evaluation 4-5-1997_1

Richard Maxfeild Custody Evaluation 4-5-1997_1

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Richard B. !\1axfield, Ph.D.
LICENSED PSYCliOLOGIST
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Name:
Hal Richardson
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These parents were court ordered to involve themselves in a custody evaluation with me.This evaluation concerns their eighteen month old daughter who currently resides \viththe mother, with weekend visitation available to the father. I met with Mr. Richardsonon June
19
and
16.
July
18.
and September
13
for individual hour long diagnosticsessions. In addition I met with him for one hour with his daughter on October 4,
1996.
I met with Ms. Dombrowski for a two hour consultation session on July
10. 1996,
asecond two hour consultation session on September
11, 1996
and a one hour consultationwith her daughter on October 4 ..
1996.
In addition I administered the M1'vlPI-II to bothparents. Further, I have spoken with or received reports from Joel Nance, M.D., BernardNobo, MSW, Mrs. Barger, who is Claudine's current counselor, Ms. Fisher who is thechIld's current day care provider. In addition I have received and revicv,:ed multiple faxesfrom Ms. Dombrowski, numerous police reports concerning the history of violence inthis relationship and I have listened to and reviev,:ed a taped telephone conversationprovided to me by Mr. Richardson. That conversation was one between him and Ms.Dombrowski. It is on the basis of the above contacts and information that I come to myfindings and conclusions.This was an extraordinarily difficult evaluation to conduct. In part that difficulty arisesfrom the extreme violence which has been part of this relationship from nearly thebeginning of their relationship. Further. that difficulty arises. and perhaps primarily,from my opinion that neither member of this couple was forthright in their approach tome and to the evaluation. Though it is to be expected that any parent undergoing such anevaluation will "put theIr best foot forward," my assessment of each member of thiscouple is that they 3re prone to fabric3tion and to blaming the other for all, or nearly all,of the problems in their relationship. On multiple occasions they provided informationwhich was frankly and boldly contradictory to the information that the other hadprovided. Sorting out where the truth
lay
in those situations was not possible.Each member of this couple describes their relationship as beginning impulsi\ely Eachofthcm describe it as "love at first sight." though they do not both use that verbalization.At the time that they met Mr. Richardson \Vas married to his first wife. Almostimmediately upon meeting Ms Dombrowski he bec3me intimately involved with her.He very quickly, from his point of view, began to provide for her financially andemotionall:-- .. She describes herselfas being "struck
otT
her feet"
by
his "chJrm."
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Hal Richardson
&
C1aL .le Dombrowski
Richard
B. MaxfIeld. Ph.D.
LICENSED PSYCHOLOGIST
As their relationship deepened there began a serious of violent interchangcs. At least haldozen ofthosc intcrchan!.!cs came to the attention of the police and on at least oneoccasion there \vere charges filed against both of them. Mr. Richardson describes Ms.Dombrowski as extraordinarily moody. He tells me that she began the violence by"tearing up" a number of his possessions. He tells me that he became violent in return asa matter of self defense. Ms. Dombro\',ski, on the other hand, describes herself as thevictim of the violence which, in her mind, \vas essentially unprovoked. She tells me thatshe needed to defend hersel
f
against him ~l!ld that whatever damage she might have doneto him or to his property was a result of her efforts of self defense. In reviewing thepolice reports of these various episodes it is impossible to sort out who did what to whomand in \vhat order. Clearly, however, both members of the couple actively engaged inviolent behavior toward one another.Both members of this couple accuse the other of currently perpetuating the animositybetween them. Mr. Richardson, for his part, communicates that Ms. Dombrowskifrequently calls him. He says that she has called him at two and four in the morning andhas ridiculed him over some piece of current or past behavior. He tells me that shesounds drunk in the phone calls and he is able to hear the baby in the backt,'Tound. He isfearful for the baby's safety at such times. For her part Ms. Dombrowski absolutelydenies placing any phone calls to Mr. Richardson. She tells me that it is he who callsher. She says that she feels threatened and harassed by him and wishes to haveabsolutely no contact with him. Again, it is impossible for me to sort out the veracity of either one of these claims or counterclaims.The animosity between these parents
IS
such that the exchanges of their baby need tooccur in the presence of a third party. When I initially began the evaluation thoseexchanges were taking place in a hospital in Salina \vith a social \vorker participating.TO\V~Hd the end of the evaluation process the exchanges were transferred to the Salinapolice depanment. Following one such interchange there was some sort of disturbancebet\vcen 1\1r. Richardson and i\ls Dombro\'\'s1-;i. 1\ls. DombrO\vski communicates that1vIr. Richardson followed her around Salma. that she went back to the police station toreport him for harassing her and that the police "escorted him out of town." ;'vir.Richardson communicates that he was simply getting gas for his truck that \iIs.DombrO\'is1-;l drove by and that she made a false repon to the police that he was harassingher and he
15
deeply offended that the police esconed him out of town. r\gain it
IS
impossible for me to underst3nd what may have transpired and \vho may be at fault in theabove interchange. \\:hat
IS
abundantly clear is that It
IS
Jmposslbk for these parents to co-parent Nclther of them can sa\ a civil \\ord about the other. Each nflhem has extraordinar\ JrlJI110Sltv
.
.
toward the other. IvIs Dombro\\s1-;J CommU!lIC::ltes that she is deeply fearful of IvIr
 
Hal Richardson
&
Cia .ne DombrowskiRichardson, noting, for instance, that two members of her Battered Women's Task ForceGroup have been murdered by their ex-husband's or boyfriend's. She says, convincingly,that she is fearful for her life. How much that is conscious exaggeration is unknO\'vTI tome. Mr. Richardson communicates that Ms. Dombrowski, in his opinion. ispsychiatrically disturbed. unable to be trusted and extraordinarily manipulative. Hecommunicates that he cannot have a reasonable conversation with her as she is a "liar"who will distort the truth to her O\\oTIends. Currently there is virtually no communicationbetween them in regard to their daughter. As noted above each of them says that theother one is making inappropriate and accusatory or threatening phone calls to the other,both, however, admit that they are unable to have any1hing approaching a civil discussionabout their daughter or her circumstance.Each member of the couple accuses the other one of having a problem with eitheralcohol or substances. Each of them denies the use of alcohol themselves.
My
assumption and confirmed by reports of previous evaluators, is that each of them has haddifficulty with the use of substances and/or alcohol in the past. Whether that is a currentproblem is unclear to me, though as noted they each deny those possible difficulties.There is little doubt that each member of this couple has significant difficulties \\ith theirimpulse control. Each of them involved themselves quite impulsively in thisrelationship. Further, each of them admit to interactions with the other during this periodof separation when there are, so far as I know, mutual restraining orders. Each of themspeaks without thinking in their appointments with me. They provide information that iscontradictory to vv'hat the other one has said and what they have previouslycommunicated without much, if any, awareness of having done that.Both members of this couple deny having problems with violence that predated theircurrent relationship. However, there is a police report available on Ms. Dombrowski thatconcerns a violent interchange with a former boyfriend. She has an explanation for thatwhich she provides me in the consultation which completely, in her mind, exonerates herfrom responsibility. Mr. Richardson, despite Ms. Dombrowski's accusations to thecontrary, communicates that violence was never a problem in his first marriage.However, he freely admits that he has had trouble with the law in the past and that he hasbeen in multiple fights. He provides the reasoning that he was always coming tosomeone's defense who was unable to defend him or herself or that he was SImplyattacked in an unprovoked way.There is littk doubt that both members of this couple suffer from a sih'11Jflcant psychiatricdifficulties. It seems quite likely to me that each of them suffers from BorderlinePersonality Disorder. In regard to that characterization Ms. DombrO\vski hasdemonstrated a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships. sih'11itlcantimpulsivity. affective instJbility with cleJr proneness to depression on the one side andIffitabil ity or anxiety on the other She additionally has demonstr3ted Intense andin:.lpprOpf13te :.Inger. She cle3rly has engaged in dTons to :.Ivoid re31 or Imaginedabandonment. In fact. her gre:.ltest fear in reg:.Hd to this custody evaluation is the

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