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Legal Evaluations


Psychological injuries; Dr. Nichols has an extensive background in assessing trauma from various sources including physical injury. She has acted as an expert witness both in the diagnosis of post injury psychological conditions and in establishing their causal relationship to underlying physical trauma. Typically acting as a retained expert, she may also offer litigation support to counsel and emotional or therapeutic support to the injured party. She has a well-deserved reputation as a calm effective and persuasive witness before a judge or jury.


Competency and Guardianship; Dr. Nichols has acted as a court-appointed evaluator where challenged individuals may be unable to function without the assistance of a guardian or conservator or where doubt exists about their ability to function or live independently. In some cases, competency must be assessed to determine whether a child charged with an offense has the capacity to understand the offense charged, to assist in their own defense or to understand the significance of their actions. Some individuals are incapable of understanding the nature of the warnings against self-incrimination required by the Miranda decision and her testimony has been helpful to courts and attorneys in assessing that issue.


Custody and Parenting; Dr. Nichols has frequently acted as a neutral evaluator/investigator in matters pertaining to the appropriate orders or agreements for residence, custody or parenting plans for children and families involved in family law cases. Once appointed by the court she undertakes investigation and assessment on sharing parenting and/or placement where conflict have arisen between the parents about these issues. Frequently, in heated or high conflict divorce cases, difficulties arise in maintaining a “best interest of the child” focus by the parents. To effectively make a review and recommendations she will meet with the child, parents and other appropriate persons with knowledge; she reviews school, social and medical records. Her reports generally include a thorough review of the materials and specific recommendation for maintaining the best interests of the children. Note, court appointment required.


Sexual abuse allegations; Dr. Nichols has been accepted as an expert witness on behalf of both the prosecution and the defense in cases involving the reliability of allegations of sexual abuse of children. The veracity of the accusing party and the reliability of the allegations is an important aspect in any prosecution for such crimes. A suggestive interview, outside influences or allegations, other motivations or coaching may raise questions about the reliability of the claims. She typically declines the majority of cases in which she is consulted and only testifies where she believes that the process is flawed or the allegations have merit.