Texas courts take child custody very seriously. They prioritize the children’s best interests in various types of family law litigation. The court could also appoint legal representation for the involved child, depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes, the court might order a child evaluation if they find specific issues that could impact the child’s welfare. Typically, it is not essential in making most child custody decisions. However, certain factors could call for the evaluation anytime during proceedings.
The court might require it to verify concerns regarding the following:
- Elements that could risk the child’s safety
- Parent’s capacity to responsibly care for the child
- Issues with parent-child relationships
- Mental health factors that could affect the child’s well-being
The evaluation process usually involves interviews with people involved in the case. An evaluator could also learn more about the family by observing them and looking through documents, such as medical records, criminal records and the child’s file at school.
The evaluator could also include a mental health examination in the process. Still, they can only do so within reasonable boundaries based on the situation.
Additionally, the judge only chooses qualified evaluators who can examine the child custody case impartially.
Who can serve as a child custody evaluator?
The law allows select professionals with specific credentials to evaluate child custody cases. They must meet the following minimum qualifications:
- Has extensive professional experience in counseling, psychology, family therapy and social work
- Earned a master’s degree and a license to practice issued by the state
- Went through special training, as indicated by the court
The court also examines an evaluator based on certain factors that may cause bias or conflicts of interest. If the evaluator has connections with the attorney, parent or child involved in the case, they must disclose it. Then, the court will determine if they qualify for the task.