Five Things That May Constitute A Custody Evaluation

Posted on: 5 February 2018

A custody evaluation process is an independent assessment of your family setup and your child's needs to determine the custody determination would suit the child best. The custody evaluation is handled by a court-appointed custody evaluator, and it involves different things such as the following five:

Interviews with the Child

There are two main reasons for interviewing the child at the center of the custody battle. First, if the child is old enough, it's useful to get their opinion on the issue. Secondly, interviewing the child gives an insight into their family life and setup, which the custody evaluator can use to understand the child's life better. For example, the evaluator can use the interview to understand who takes care of the child when they are sick, which parent prepares the child for school, and which parent attends school games.

Interviews with Parents

Interviewing the parents is also important for gathering information. The custody evaluator will talk to both parents so there is no fear of relying on one-sided information. It's important to be honest during the evaluation; you don't want to risk having your lies found out because it may reflect badly on you during the judgment.

Interviews with Other Parties

It is not just the parents and child that the custody evaluator will interview; other parties with close ties to the family or child will be interviewed too. Here are some of the other parties the evaluator may interview:

·         Other close family members such as grandparents

·         The teachers at the child's school

·         The religious leaders of the religion the family subscribes to, if there is any

·         The child's pediatrician

·         The child's babysitter

Observations on the Family Setup

The custody evaluation will not just rely on interviews; observations will also play a part in the determination. The evaluator will spend some time with the family to observe their routines, interactions, and home setup. In fact, every minute spent with the child or their family members will be closely observed, even during the interview sessions.

Psychological Testing

Lastly, the court may also rely on psychological testing for more insight into the child's life. Psychological testing is offered by a qualified mental health professional. There are various methods of psychological testing and it will be up to the professional to determine which one suits the situation best.

You shouldn't lie during the custody evaluation even if you think it can further your cause. You need to put your best foot forward, however, if you have hopes of winning the case. A divorce lawyer can help you prepare for and ace the evaluation.