If you are embroiled in a dispute over custody and/or parenting time, and you cannot reach an agreement, it is possible that the court may order a custody evaluation. Essentially, this is where an impartial third party will conduct an investigation, gather information about you and your relationships and make recommendations to the judge as to how custody and parenting time should be awarded.
While custody evaluations are supposed to be impartial, they sometimes may not be despite their best efforts. Also, many parents may take offense to the notion of having their parenting style questioned. Because of this, it is important for a parent to be prepared when they are evaluated. This post will detail a few things that custody evaluators look for.
Stable home environment – Of the factors to be considered in the best interests analysis, stability is arguably one of the most important. As such, custody evaluators are going to look to stable the child’s home environment is. They may also consider a parent’s future plans in how they look to maintain stability.
Ability to co-parent – It may go without saying, but children tend to do better when both parents are in their lives. Because of this, custody evaluations will look to how the parents communicate, how they resolve disputes, and how they include each other in the children’s lives.
Other important relationships – The evaluator will also examine the relationships the child has with extended family members such as aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and how these relationships may be affected.
If you have additional questions about custody evaluators, an experienced family law attorney can help.