Identity of Custody Evaluators
One possible custody evaluator could be a psychologist, social worker, or friend of the court. Alternately, they may be a Guardian Ad Litem (a lawyer). This is an individual appointed by the court to represent the interests of the child.
The extent of the Evaluation
Each custody evaluator uses a different approach. An initial interview is a common part of many evaluations. The interview may include a discussion about each parent’s relationship with the child, up to the point of the legal dispute. These conversations are necessary to establish which parent was the primary caretaker. The evaluator might also talk about the circumstances that led to the dispute. The evaluator might ask each parent to give a separate release of information regarding the child and parent, including counseling records and psychological records.
One evaluation may require each parent to undergo psychological testing. This is especially true if one parent alleges that the other has a history of drug abuse. An evaluator might refer a parent for evaluation to another expert. The evaluator might refer a parent to a chemical dependency expert if there are allegations of alcohol or drug abuse. The evaluator might refer the parent to a psychologist or counselor if there are anger or emotional problems. The professional may perform an evaluation and ask the parent to take certain tests to diagnose the parent. These evaluations might require that the parent attend multiple appointments. The parent must follow all instructions from the evaluator.
The evaluator might make contact with other people involved in the child’s life as part of the child custody assessment. Family members can be contacted but their opinions could not be as important due to possible bias. The evaluator may also contact other people, such as teachers, daycare providers, and counselors.
Home visits are an important part of the evaluation process. Home visits are usually scheduled by the evaluator so that they can observe how the parent interacts and the child. The evaluator will observe the parent’s interactions with the child, and whether the parent plays with them. The evaluator will also observe how the child reacts to the parent. The evaluator will assess the environment and determine if the boundaries are appropriate for the child. The evaluator may also ask for specific information regarding the parenting style of the parents, including the discipline they use, the values they want to instill, and the best way to create a more stable environment for their child. The evaluator might request documents and any other supporting evidence to support the parent’s claims, such as employment records, school records, and evidence that the parent helped with homework assignments.
After conducting an evaluation, the custody evaluator prepares the court a report. This report summarizes the evaluation, analyses the custody issues, and gives the court’s opinion on what is in the best interest of the child.
Power of Custody Assessments
The actions of the family court judge are not influenced by custody evaluations. The recommendations of the custody judge are not binding on the judge. These recommendations are often taken seriously by judges, who may consider them even though they do not have to be adopted. An attorney representing the parent affected may try to overcome a negative custody evaluation.
Many people who are going through a custody assessment choose to consult a family law lawyers surrey bc.