Child Custody Evaluations: A List of What to Know
Child custody evaluations are a frequent occurrence. Nonetheless, despite their commonality, it may be a highly nerve-racking struggle for a parent. To alleviate those worries and provide sufficient preparation for the process, parents should gather information about custody evaluations and their impact on child custody proceedings.
Child Custody Evaluation 101
In general, a child custody assessment is a procedure in which a mental health expert, generally a psychologist, assesses you, your child, and your co-parent to propose custody and visitation to the court. All custody evaluations aim to ensure that children’s needs are satisfied as much as possible. This examination necessitates the psychologist to pay close attention to the strengths and deficiencies of parental traits and the child’s individual psychological requirements.
Why Custody Evaluations are Ordered
The most typical cause for a child custody evaluation is when parents cannot agree on the contents of their custody arrangement. Another typical cause for a custody evaluation is when either or perhaps both co-parents consider that their present custody arrangement does not fulfill their child’s or children’s requirements.
In both circumstances, the judge will order a custody evaluation to provide suggestions to the parents and the court for the appropriate parenting arrangement. A custody review might also be requested or consented to by parents. However, parents should always check with an experienced family law and divorce attorney before pursuing this option.
Preparation is Essential: Here’s What to Do
Most co-parents find it quite difficult to go through a child custody evaluation. Even if you are an amazing parent to your child, your anxiety before an examination may alter your behavior. To avoid this, consider the following ways to ease stress throughout this process:
- Be helpful to the evaluator. Even if you disagree with the child custody evaluation, it is critical that you participate so that the evaluator does not receive the wrong idea.
- Many co-parents think that treating this process like a job interview is effective. Dress accordingly and strive to be prompt, honest, and self-assured.
- Prepare and prep ahead of time. Your evaluator will almost certainly request your case materials at some point throughout the review.
- Make certain that you prioritize your child’s best interests above anything else. The most critical aspect of doing well in your review is demonstrating that you prioritize your child over other things.
- Consult with your lawyer about creating a list of referral questions. Custody evaluators have a broad responsibility to make recommendations that are in the best interests of the child. Still, the scope of that task might mean that individual issues can get lost in the flow. Referral questions might ensure that specific issues are addressed.
What the evaluation may look like
It is critical to recognize that the mental health expert evaluating you and your family is only looking to discover what is best for your child. To make this conclusion, the expert will often follow a similar approach to the following standards:
- First, they will conduct individual interviews with each co-parent.
- They will interview the child involved in the matter several times.
- Third, they will examine each co-parent as they engage with the kid, whether at work or home.
- They may do interviews with other family members, such as teachers and health care professionals.
- They may decide to conduct psychological screening on any member of the family.
- They will also go through prior legal proceedings in the instant divorce and child custody matter.
The evaluator will then create a report for the judge based on the information acquired from these observations. This report will contain their findings and suggestions on how custody should be shared.
Parental Rights in Arizona and The Phoenix Metroplex Area
We understand the gravity of a child custody dispute at Stewart Law Group. Whether you are divorcing your spouse or have a child with someone you are not married to, our legal team is prepared to assist you. Because we understand that the result of a child custody battle will impact your life for years to come, our highly regarded Arizona child custody lawyers take our duty as your legal counsel very seriously. Contact us today.