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How do child custody evaluations work in California?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2022 | Custody & Visitation |

A child custody dispute can be highly contentious. If you and your child’s other parent are unable to resolve the matter on your own, then the matter is going to be left in the hands of a judge who doesn’t know much about you and your family. That’s why child custody evaluations are often ordered by the court.

What is a child custody evaluation?

A child custody evaluation is a holistic analysis conducted by someone who is registered as an evaluator. These individuals are usually mental health professionals, such as psychologists or therapists. Sometimes they are licensed social workers. The purpose of the evaluation is to give the court a complete picture of the family’s dynamics so that it can render a child custody decision that it feels is in the child’s best interests.

What goes into a child custody evaluation?

There’s a lot that can go into one of these comprehensive evaluations. The evaluator will probably interview you, your child, and your child’s other parent, as well as individuals who can provide insight into your child and your ability to parent him or her. This means that friends, family members, neighbors, medical professionals, and school personnel may all be contacted. Your child’s medical and educational records may be reviewed, too. There’s very little that’s off limits during one of these evaluations.

How evaluations are used

As we mentioned, a court will use a child custody evaluation to aid it in making its decision. But you can request that an evaluation be ordered, too, especially if you think the evaluation will be beneficial to you. But once the evaluator’s report comes back, you’ll need to be prepared to properly utilize it to your advantage in your child custody case or defend against its assertions. If you’d like assistance with that, then now may be the time to discuss the circumstances of your case with an experienced family law professional.