Parents who no longer live together often have a hard time deciding on child custody. This is especially true when parents have widely different parenting styles. If parents can’t agree on child custody and visitation, sometimes courts order a child custody evaluation.
What is a child custody evaluation?
A child custody evaluation is an investigation into the children’s lives. Courts want to learn about the children’s home, environment, family relationships, and other aspects of their home life. Through this evaluation, courts hope to decide the best possible living and visitation arrangements for the children.
The child custody evaluator is often a mental health professional who evaluates both parents and children. He or she weighs in on how well parents are able to parent. The evaluator also considers whether parents will encourage positive relationships between children and the second parent. In addition, evaluators determine the mental health of both parents and children and search for signs of abuse. Outside parties, like teachers and therapists, may also be interviewed for testimony about the parent-child relationships. While an evaluators recommendations are weighed heavily, they are not final. The court still makes the final decision regarding custody and visitation.
Preparing for a child custody evaluation
A child custody evaluator is a completely neutral third party. He or she is not a friend or advocate on anyone’s behalf. However, he or she may recommend parenting classes or therapy for parents and/or children.
When getting ready to meet with a child custody evaluator, put your best foot forward. Arrive to your meeting on time and dressed appropriately. Be respectful, organized, and honest. Don’t discuss the other parent’s downfalls as a partner. The evaluator is only concerned with parenting abilities. Lastly, explain the situation to your children without urging them to say negative comments about the other parent.
If you’re facing a child custody battle, your best bet is to consult an attorney. Experienced Attorney can protect your rights and be an advocate for your best interests. Call the Law Offices of Attorney David Bach for a consultation today.