Custody Evaluations

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Custody Evaluations

If you and your former spouse or the other parent have been unable to reach an agreement regarding child custody, the family court judge deciding your case may order a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation is a process in which a mental health professional, usually a psychologist, evaluates you, your children and your children’s other parent in order to make a custody and visitation recommendation to the court. Courts tend to give considerable weight to the recommendations of the evaluator. Stange Law Firm, PC, can help explain custody evaluations and answer your child custody questions.

Basics of Custody Evaluation

Custody evaluations can be expensive, but some courts have lower-cost alternatives. Though ordered by the court, the parties usually pay for the evaluation.

The court may assign an evaluator to you or may allow you to choose from a list of evaluators. Regardless of who chooses the evaluator and who pays for the evaluation, the evaluator should be neutral and should not have a patient-therapist relationship with anyone in the family either before or after the evaluation.

Custody Evaluation Process

The evaluator is working to make a determination of the best interests of the child. The typical custody evaluation consists of interviews with each parent and the children; observation of parental interaction with each child in the office and potentially at home; psychological testing as necessary; review of court documents; interviews with people like teachers; and pediatricians and day care providers as necessary.

Once the evaluation process is complete, the evaluator will issue a report with recommendations regarding custody and visitation. Most evaluators will specifically address concerns raised by each parent in making recommendations.

Custody Evaluation Report

The custody evaluator may meet with you to discuss the report. Most reports contain:

  • A recommendation regarding custody and visitation
  • A parenting plan to help you carry out the recommended schedule and a process for resolving future problems
  • Suggestions for therapy or parenting classes as needed
  • Guidelines for dealing with special problems like abuse, violence or parental alienation
  • Schedules or suggestions for reevaluation as needed

You can read more on this topic in an article titled: Custody Evaluations and Methodology.

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Full Service Child Custody Representation

Our child custody practice focuses on protecting the wellbeing of children and the rights of parents. We handle issues such as:
Visitation
Often called parenting time, visitation is the amount of time a noncustodial parent spends with his or her child. We can handle a broad spectrum of visitation matters.
Creating a parenting plan
Getting visitation rights means drafting a parenting plan that works. We can help.
Relocation with a child
Courts have continuing jurisdiction over child custody and visitation orders. So, when a parent wants to move, it is usually necessary to get the court's permission first. Failure to do so can put your time with your child in jeopardy.
Enforcement of orders
If a parent fails to follow a child custody order, it may be possible to take him or her to court to enforce the order.
Contempt of court
If you are found to have repeatedly ignored a court order, you may be found in contempt of court.
Modification of orders:
When you need a court order changed, you can work with the experienced attorneys at Stange Law Firm, PC.
Custody Issues for Nonmarried Parents
Next to divorce actions, paternity cases (custody and support cases between unmarried parents) are among the most common cases in family law.
Parental Rights
Parents are often concerns about their parental rights, especially fathers in certain circumstances.
Family Access Motions
If you are being denied access to your children, you may want to consider a family access motion.
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
If you have jurisdictional issues involving your custody case, you will want an attorney familiar with the UCCJEA.
Custody Evaluations
If you have a complex custody case where psychological issues or abuse may be in play, you might want to consider a child custody evaluation
Hague Convention
If you are dealing with an international child custody dispute, and perhaps child abduction, knowing about the Hague Convention is often critical.
Third-Party Custody
If you are not the biological parents, in certain cases all may not be lost. You might have a right to third party custody in certain situations.
Fertility and Surrogacy
Fertility and surrogacy is a growing area of the law for those who want children.
Transportation
In some custody cases, parties might live far apart. This can result in difficult child custody cases with transportation at issue.

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