Child Custody Evaluations: What You Can Expect

Law Blog

When it comes to child custody cases, the courts must make a determination based on the best interests of the child or children involved. As a result, you may find that the judge orders a custody evaluation before they will make a determination on your case. For those who have never experienced such an evaluation, you may not know what to expect. Here's a look at what your child custody lawyer wants you to understand about the upcoming evaluation.

Both Parties Seeking Custody Will Be Interviewed

One of the very first steps of a child custody evaluation is an interview with each parent. Usually, the initial interviews are handled separately. The evaluator will discuss your history, including any mental health concerns, legal issues, or child care problems that may have been mentioned in the court documents.

They will also ask questions about your job, your time with the children, the types of things you do with the children, and how you handle discipline, schooling, and other responsibilities. It's important that you are honest and upfront with the evaluator because any misleading or inaccurate information could cost you a favorable outcome.

There may also be a joint interview in some cases. If there is any question about how you and the other parent interact together, such as hostility from one party, the evaluator may ask to interview both of you together. In most situations, the goal of this interview is to observe how you and the other parent interact together and to discuss parenting plans and dispute resolution methods.

Your Children May Be Interviewed

The evaluator will often ask to speak to each of the children involved as well. With young children, these conversations often occur over playtime, allowing the child to interact with the evaluator and answer questions while being engaged with toys. Older children will be spoken with one on one as well, and they will be asked about the environment with each parent, including the living arrangements, discipline, engagement, and more. 

It's tempting to want to coach your children ahead of this interview. You likely want to be sure that you know what they are going to say, and you may want to suggest certain responses. However, your attorney will advise you against this. Any appearance of coaching on your part could be seen as tampering and may cost you custody of your children in the final determination.

School Records May Be Considered

Whether your children attend a public or private school or are homeschooled, another key factor that is often considered during a custody evaluation is your child's school performance and school records. Evaluators will request copies of these records, including report cards, disciplinary information, homeschool evaluations, and more. The goal is to see if your child's school performance has been affected while in the care of either parent.

You May Have To Host A Home Visit

Especially in cases where the home environment is in question, but often in most child custody evaluations, your evaluator will ask to conduct a home visit in both parents' homes. This is an important part of the process because it allows the evaluator to see where the children live, the type of environment they live in, and to observe you and the children interacting together.

Don't go out of your way to present an atmosphere that isn't natural. Evaluators can identify when things seem forced, strained, or out of the ordinary. Let your children relax and be who they always are in your home. Remember that this is their home as well, and you want the evaluator to see that they are comfortable in it.

If you've been asked to participate in a child custody evaluation, talk with your child custody lawyer right away for proper guidance and support.


12 February 2021

Every Business Owner Needs to Be Well-versed in Law

While I took a few business classes in college, I left early to start my own business. I thought I had the knowledge I needed to become a great business owner and was eager to start my business. Soon, I had a new business that was actually performing pretty well in sales. Unfortunately, I hadn't taken any law courses in college, and I soon realized I made a few mistakes when starting my business that could cause me some legal trouble. Thankfully, a great business lawyer helped me correct my mistakes before I had any legal problems, but I then decided to take those business law courses. I want to help business owners and anyone else who would like to learn more about the law by starting a blog where I will share what I have learned and will continue to learn. I hope I can help you!