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Explore General Legal Issues

Understanding The Basics Of Child Custody Evaluation

by Ralph Griffin

Whenever there is any contention over child custody, there's a chance that the courts may order an evaluation as part of the child custody case. If they do, you need to be prepared for what the evaluation process will bring. Here's a look at a few of the things that you should consider when you're facing a potential evaluation in your child custody case.

Why Might Your Child Custody Case Require An Evaluation?

In order to fully understand and prepare for the evaluation process, you need to understand why you might be ordered to undergo an evaluation in the first place. In most cases, a custody evaluation is required when the custody of a child or children is heavily contested between the divorcing parents, when there is a question of fit parenting, or an accusation of abuse or neglect. 

What Can You Expect From An Evaluation?

If the court orders a custody evaluation in your case, you should know what to expect. The process will start with the investigator interviewing each person who is seeking custody of the child. This interview is intended to help the evaluator understand each person's background and relationship with the child.

He or she will then interview the child or children involved individually. Talking with each child privately helps the evaluator to get a firm sense of how the child feels about each party involved, what the relationship dynamics are like between the child and each party, and any other information that may be relevant.

The evaluator will also take some time to observe in-person interaction between the child and each party involved, assessing the interactions and how the child responds to each person. In some cases, this observation extends to anyone close to each parent who may have interaction with the child on a regular basis.

This includes daycare providers, other children in the home, and anyone else who may play an important role in the child's life.

What Happens After The Evaluation?

When the evaluation is complete, the evaluator will create a report detailing all of the information and findings. The report will also illustrate the evaluator's choice for the best possible candidate for the child's custody, including recommendations for shared custody if it applies.

These are some of the things you need to know about evaluations for child custody. Talk with a child custody attorney today for more information. Your lawyer will help you prepare for the process.