Often in a Custody matter, the only persons able to testify are the parents of the minor child. Should a custody matter reach the brink of entering the Trial level, the Court will want an Expert opinion. This serves as a neutral third party, whom the Court can rely on to be unbiased and honest about the best interest of the children.
The simplest way for the Court to acquire an Expert is to Order that the parties submit to an Evaluation. During a custody matter, the Court can order that any party, parents and children alike, to submit and fully participate in an Evaluation. Frequently, the Court requires that either a psychological or Custody Evaluation take place.
The Custody Evaluation is done by a licensed professional and includes home visits, interviews with the parents, and observing each parent interacting with the child. Following the conclusion of the Evaluation, the Evaluator will draft a report and submit it to both parties. Should any of the parties wish the report be submitted to the Court, they will enter this report into evidence. It is important to note that the report cannot be submitted directly to the Court by the Evaluator.
When deciding whether to Order an Evaluation, the Court will look at several factors including; the cost of the examination, report, and testimony; any deadlines in a case, such as a child starting school; and any additional safeguards they think necessary. Once the Court has made the decision to order an Evaluation, they will issue a Court Order, which includes the place, time period, conditions, and scope of examination.
This Court Order should be viewed with the same gravity as any Court Order. Should a parent fail to comply with an Order for Evaluation, the Court may find them in contempt. More importantly, the Court will use the parent’s non-compliance as a factor in determining the final disposition of Custody. In this case, it is crucial that you speak with The Banks Law Group before requesting or attending a Custody Evaluation.