Child custody decisions are supposed to be made in the best interests of the child. But that can be a difficult determination for the court to make, especially when the child’s mother and father have conflicting positions on what sort of arrangement is best for the child. This is why the judge in your child custody case may order a child custody evaluation.
What is a child custody evaluation?
A child custody evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of the child, his or her parents, and the circumstances to determine what sort of custody and visitation arrangement is best for the kid. These evaluations are typically conducted by a psychologist, who may do each of the following as part of the assessment:
- Interview the child
- Interview the parents
- Observe parenting time
- Conduct mental health and psychological evaluations
- Speak to the child’s teachers and doctor
- Review educational and medical records
- Consider each parent’s financial stability
- Assess the child’s bond with each parent
- Review each parent’s work schedule and availability
As you can see, this is a very detailed assessment, which is important for finding the arrangement that is best for your kid. But it can be stressful.
Preparing for a child custody evaluation
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to prepare yourself for this process. Be open and honest with the evaluator while keeping the focus on your child. Resist the urge to talk badly about the other parent. Be armed with as much evidence as possible to support your position, too. Avoid becoming defensive and don’t try to paint yourself as the perfect parent.
Know how to handle a child custody evaluation in your case
The outcome of a child custody evaluation is a written report that is submitted to the judge. The judge will likely give this report a significant amount of weight, which means that you either have to be prepared to support the assessment’s outcome or aggressively challenge it. If you’d like to learn more about how to go about doing that, then you might want to discuss your circumstances with an aggressive legal advocate who can help guide you through the process.