The Basic Child Custody Evaluation
The General Structure (Part 2)
Evaluations differ based on many factors. An appointed evaluator of the court who works for the court will generally not have the time to meet your friends. If there are problems with abuse allegations, a desire to relocate or evidence one parent is severely undermining the other, then the evaluation will take much longer, and will require these issues be clarified.
Nevertheless, one sample of an evaluation is worth a glance.
First, the ""custody evaluation" is designed to determine the place the child shall live and how parenting duties and privileges will be shared. Often there is a preliminary set up, and then at a later time, a more permanent set up.
Second, if at all possible try to work out something with your co-parent. It is not always possible, but most couples never go to court for a trial, so it can definitely be done. Work with your lawyer to reflect on the law and the options. Be flexible in areas you can be flexible on. If you hate your family, and you feel her family does Christmas and New Years better, perhaps offer that carrot, if you love a Thanksgiving tradition or activity. Yet in all things, review them with your veteran attorney.
Custody evaluations can cost a couple hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars. Generally, a court evaluator is quite inexpensive and a PhD or MD who is a private evaluator will be much more money.
These evaluations typically take three to four months, and commonly have some of these parts.
So Then What Happens?
The evaluator goes through all the material that has been presented over months, and tries to determine what is the best arrangement for your child. Typically, this will involve some significant time with each parent. Further, past practices or routines are taken into account. If the father was the one who always took the children to school, doctors appointments and did homework with them and put them to bed, and the mother held down a serious professional career, it might be suggested that this has worked in the past, and perhaps it should be continued.
If you would like a major change in the way roles were performed in the past, you should probably think your position through carefully, and be sure you are doing this for the children. If you love running a large company, why would you want to resign and suddenly spend 3-9 pm with your children? I am not saying you cannot do this, but just have a clear set of reasons for this change that are not based on bitterness or self-pity.
Since the evaluator will have spent massive amounts of time researching the lives of your child, the court will usually accept much of what is presented and suggested.
Once your lawyer has received a copy of the report, it is a good time to reconsider working out an arrangement with your co-parent if possible.
If you feel you want to fight the custody evaluation, you will need to work with your lawyer to think of a careful and full strategy promptly. Critical points are occasionally missed and the evaluation is not Gospel. But it will not be ignored easily.
I wish you much peace during this challenging time.