If you are separated from your spouse and believe that issues regarding child custody will be hotly debated, it is possible that your attorney might have suggested a custody evaluation. You might wonder exactly what a custody evaluation is or whether an evaluation would be beneficial for your situation. The following will examine both of these questions.
What is a Child Custody Evaluation?
A child custody evaluation is a neutral and objective assessment of all of the relevant factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child. The person who performs the evaluation may be selected by the court or mutually agreed on by the parents. Sometimes, court orders address all of the issues about how the evaluation will be performed, while other times, court orders leave a great deal of questions about how the evaluation should be performed unanswered.
Why Have a Child Custody Evaluation?
There are a number of reasons why a party might seek to have a custody evaluation performed, but some of the most common reasons include:
- If a former spouse struggles with mental health or addiction issues, an evaluation can be helpful. The professional who performs the evaluation will be able to assess both the nature and extent of the issues.
- The custody evaluation process offers children protection from outside forces. When a professional performs an evaluation, they will speak directly with the children so an interview with the judge will not be necessary. In some situations, a neutral professional might make recommendations that help to avoid children experiencing negative emotions, which include being caught in the middle of a divorce.
- An evaluator will be qualified as an expert by a court of law and as a result will not be restricted by many of the requirements concerning evidence. This means that an evaluator will be able to inform a judge about any wishes or other emotions that the divorcing couple’s children have expressed.
- The information provided by a custody evaluation can be an effective tool in deciding your child’s best interests. If an evaluation is thorough and satisfies professional standards, information contained in this report will likely be persuasive in a judge’s eventual custody decision.
While there are a number of advantages to receiving a custody evaluation, it is important to understand that every divorce is unique. As a result, deciding whether a custody evaluation will work well in your case is a personal decision that requires substantial thought and evaluation.
Speak with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you believe that custody issues in your case will be hotly debated, you can benefit from retaining the assistance of an experienced lawyer, who can help you determine if a custody evaluation is suitable for your case. Contact Vayman & Teitelbaum, P.C. today to schedule a free initial consultation.