Divorce can be a frightening experience because there is a great amount of uncertainty involved. Some people are uncertain about what lies ahead, whether they can afford the process, and what will happen to their children. It can help to learn as much as possible about the child custody process. One of the most commonly asked questions by clients going through divorce is about the Georgia custody process and custody evaluations. The following will take a brief look at some important details involved with child custody evaluations in Georgia.
The Role of Custody Evaluations in Georgia
Child custody evaluations in Georgia are used when parents can not agree on who should take care of a child following a divorce. Performed by a licensed psychologist, the evaluations help court determine what decision would be in the best interest of the child.
As part of the evaluation process, the psychologist will speak with both parents and the children. The psychologist will also perform personality and intelligence tests to decide what the best solution will be. In many situations, the evaluator will also examine the strength of bonds between various members of the family.
Based on the findings from the evaluations, a psychologist will likely recommend either joint physical custody or assign one parent primary custody and the other visitation rights.
How to Prepare for a Custody Evaluation
Because so much is at stake, many people feel uncomfortable about the custody evaluation process. Fortunately, by following some important safety guidelines, you can make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner:
- Communicate honestly and openly with your lawyer, your children, and your former spouse
- Discuss details about your child’s interests and needs with the psychologist
- Make sure to arrive on time and to prepare adequately for the evaluation
- Treat the psychologist respectfully and answer any questions asked
- Under no circumstances should you coach your children about what to tell the psychologist
How the Process Differs From Guardian Ad Litem
A guardian ad litem is an individual who is appointed by a court of law to represent a child in issues concerning child custody or welfare. Many people who are familiar with guardian ad litem and the custody evaluation process wonder what the difference is between the two. The difference between custody evaluation and guardian ad litem is that a custody evaluator is a psychologist who determines the mental condition of both parties. A guardian ad litem, however, only has the ability to request a custody evaluation as part of an investigation. Another difference between these two processes is that custody evaluation take a much closer look at family issues than a guardian ad litem often does. Because it is often uncertain which method will be required in your case, it is good to understand how both of these processes work.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney
Going through a divorce can be a challenging process. If you need help navigating matters, you should not hesitate to contact Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. today to schedule an initial free consultation. Our attorneys have substantial experience helping clients reach custody arrangements.