Untangling your financial life from that of your spouse during the divorce process can be challenging enough, but if you have kids then you might be more concerned about how child custody and visitation will play out. While you might be able to talk out a resolution with your spouse, or with your child’s other parent if you’re unmarried, this isn’t always possible. When that’s the case, you may have to have a family law judge decide the matter.
This can be tough given that a judge doesn’t really know you, your family, or your children. Fortunately, these judges recognize this and try to have as much information in front of them as possible before making their decision. This is why the court oftentimes orders a child custody evaluation. These evaluations seek to gather relevant and pertinent information for child custody determination purposes, and they also make recommendations.
As such, the evaluation can be pretty thorough. The evaluator, who is usually a mental health expert or social worker, may interview each parent, the child, and any siblings who reside in the home, as well as other individuals who may have important information, such as teachers, medical professionals, and neighbors. They can also gather important documents like school records and medical records. They may even recommend additional evaluations, such as psychological evaluations, and they’ll also analyze any existing criminal histories. Once all the evidence has been gathered, the evaluator will file a report with the court that lays everything out and makes a recommendation.
You really should be prepared for a child custody evaluation, but even if the report doesn’t turn out exactly how you planned, you might have the ability to challenge it and its recommendations. To effectively represent your child’s best interests, though, you need to understand the law and how to craft strong and persuasive arguments. This means gathering evidence to support your position and minimize any evidence that might cast doubt on your parenting abilities. An attorney who is experienced in this area of the law might be able to assist you in aggressively advocating for what is best for your child or children.