What Happens in a Child Custody Evaluation?
One of the most sensitive aspects of a divorce case is child custody. Determining a child custody arrangement is an involved process, often requiring the expertise of many different, multi-disciplinary professionals. A custody evaluation can easily become overwhelming for both the parents and the children involved. Here’s what to expect during the evaluation process, so you can be prepared.
Child Custody Evaluation Basics
While it’s true that every child custody case is different, there are some commonalities between them. There are several elements that must take place in each case, including but not limited to:
- An interview with each parent individually
- An interview with each child and parent, e.g. an interview with child one and the mother, an interview with child one and the father, an interview with child two and the mother, and an interview with child two and the father
- An interview with each child individually by a professional suited to that child’s age level
- A visit to each parent’s home to get a feel for the environment offered by each parent
- Psychological evaluations of each parent and each child
- A detailed review of all documents submitted by each parent
It’s no secret that a child custody case will have a significant impact on your life and the lives of your children. The process can become long and drawn out, especially when the parents are at odds with each other.
The Goal of Custody Evaluations
The primary goal of the evaluation process is to determine what custody arrangement would be in the best interest of the children. It is not always clear right away what this will be. Generally speaking, California courts recognize evidence that a child benefits most when he or she continues a meaningful relationship with both parents after a divorce. However, in some instances, this is not possible or in the best interests of the children.
Careful evaluation is critical to determine if both parents should share custody, or if one parent should have primary physical and legal custody while the other has visitation. In rare cases, such as cases where child abuse or neglect has been proven, a court may revoke the parental rights of one parent.
Contact a Child Custody Attorney Today
The best way to prepare for a custody evaluation is to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Barbara E. McNamara, we can guide you step by step through the evaluation process to help you arrive at the custody arrangement that works best for your family.
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