Having to fight for the custody of your child is a horrifying experience that no parent ever wants to face. If you find yourself in this daunting situation, however, it is critical that you know what you are up against. Here is our useful guide for preparing for a child custody evaluation.
What Is A Child Custody Evaluation?
A child custody evaluation is usually ordered by a judge when the custody of a child or children is contested. This process is intended for helping the court determine the custody arrangements
which best suit the interests of your children after a divorce.
The State of New York has stringent guidelines with regards to child custody evaluations. These include:
- The child’s best psychological interests and well-being are paramount.
- Psychologists should be impartial and objective and provide a fair assessment, and not necessarily endorse the perspective of the agency/individual requesting or paying for the evaluation.
- Special knowledge and expertise of child and family matters are essential.
- A variety of data is required in the evaluations.
- The psychologist must take steps to protect the child, should abuse reasonably suspected.
- The psychologist is responsible for determining the scope of the evaluation, regardless of external requests.
- The psychologist must obtain informed consent from all adult parties beforehand.
- When the psychologist makes custody recommendations, the opinion must be limited to the information obtained in the evaluations.
- The report should be made in a timely manner.
- Financial arrangements must be clarified and agreed upon before commencing a child custody evaluation.
The Evaluation Process
The custody evaluation process in New York usually begins with interviews of you, your spouse and your child. It may also be extended to interviews conducted with certain individuals who know you and your children, such as doctors, family members, or teachers.
Generally, the court will also mandate that the involved parties have psychological evaluations.
These often take place in your home – or both homes, if you and your spouse have separated. Once the evaluator has finished his interviews and evaluations, they will present their findings to you, your spouse, both your attorneys and the court. You then will have the chance to object to the contents of the report, should you disagree with their findings.
How to Prepare for A Child Custody Evaluation
It is important to ensure you have all the proper documentation when you meet with your evaluator. These are essential to help the evaluator get a clear sense of the dynamic of your family. These documents may be used to show that your children are performing well academically and that their homework is completed on time. They should also include a list of individuals – along with their contact information – who have a good understanding of the relationship you have with your child and spouse; or if necessary, any police reports should abuse or violence is the reason for separation.
This may be easy to overlook, but having your home prepared before an evaluator’s visit is an excellent way to show how well you care for your child. This doesn’t mean your home needs to be pristine. The evaluator will be looking for evidence of a caring, healthy, and functioning home environment, so try and clean up as best you can, make sure your utilities are working properly, and make any necessary repairs which show that you care about the environment your child is living in.
At Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., our experienced team of attorneys knows how contentious child custody cases can be. We are one of the most trusted names in New York when it comes to divorce. So if you’re looking for a divorce attorney who will fight for you, call Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. today at 1 (888) 793-1484 for your free consultation and learn why we’re New York’s premier divorce law firm.