A child custody evaluation is where a neutral, third-party child custody evaluator assists the Court regarding child custody and visitation issues. These evaluations often occur when there is a move-away issue, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and/or special needs, among others. To properly prepare for a child custody evaluation as a parent, remember the standard the Court relies on is the “best interest of the children,” not the parent’s best interest.
If you have an attorney, it is imperative to speak to them as to what to expect and go in with a game plan. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
If you want to present documents to the evaluator you believe are relevant, bring hard copies. If the meeting is remote, prepare your documents in PDF format. Ensure your documents are organized so you aren’t searching to find the information you are referencing.
Do not coach your children. Encourage them to be honest with the evaluator and to speak their mind.
Before the meeting, dress neatly, be prompt, be on time, and be honest.
When you meet with the evaluator, be respectful. Remember, the evaluator’s recommendations are more often than not adopted by the Court.
Be honest in highlighting your strengths and acknowledge your weakness. Highlight your involvement and priority in your children’s lives by keeping their interests and needs first and foremost, even above your own needs and interests.
Do not only speak negatively about the other parent. You want the evaluator to know you are an excellent parent and trying your best to co-parent while keeping the children’s best interest at heart.
As always, having an experienced family law attorney by your side assisting you during this process will help you protect yourself, your children, and give you peace of mind. Contact The Reape-Rickett Law Firm at (888) 851-1611 or visit our Contact Us page to schedule a consultation with our experienced family law attorneys who can help you prepare for a child custody evaluation.