If your children are the most important thing in your life, then a child custody dispute might have you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. That’s understandable given the stakes involved. After all, the outcome of a child custody matter can have a profound impact not only on your relationship with your child, but also potentially on your child’s safety and well-being. That’s why you want to be as prepared as possible before presenting your arguments to a judge who may have the ultimate say in these matters.
The importance of a child custody evaluation
One way you might be able to generate evidence that supports your position is to have a child custody evaluation conducted. Essentially, these evaluations seek to assess the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of your child with an eye on what kind of child custody arrangement best meets those needs. Ultimately, the findings and recommendations are included in a report that may wind up being submitted to the court as evidence. But what goes into a child custody evaluation?
A lot. The individual who conducts the assessment, which is usually a mental health professional, may administer a number of tests and assessments on the child and the parents, as well as conduct interviews with those parties. Collateral information might be obtained from others, too, such as friends, relatives, and teachers. Parenting time might be observed to gauge interaction and bond between the parent and the child as well.
Be prepared to deal with the results
If a child custody evaluation is favorable to you and your position, then you can take comfort in the fact that judges tend to give the resulting recommendations a lot of weight. If the evaluation isn’t in your favor, though, you shouldn’t despair. You’ll have the opportunity to challenge the recommendations that are made and present evidence that speaks to your challenge. You might even be able to have your own evaluation conducted if the initial evaluation was ordered by the court at the request of the other parent.
Just remember that despite the emotions involved, child custody matters are legal in nature. Therefore, you need to have a thorough, holistic approach to your care that aggressively applies the law to the facts at hand. If you’d like assistance with building your case and developing your arguments, then it might be time to meet with an experienced family law attorney.