Child custody and parenting time disputes are difficult to resolve. When two parents disagree on either of these matters, they may be ordered by the court to engage in mediation. If they cannot negotiate an agreement with the help of a mediator, the court will have to decide how to resolve the issue. Sometimes, the court will require one or both of the parents undergo a parenting assessment, also known as custody assessments, to help inform the decision.
Parenting assessments are comprehensive assessments of a parent’s overall fitness including parental skills and competencies. Typically conducted by mental health professionals or social workers, this assessment can include interviews, testimony, home evaluations, and reviewing important documents such as childcare or mental health care records.
These assessments differ from Custody Neutral Assessments (CNAs), which the court may order in similar disputes after mediation has already been tried. CNAs are not comprehensive evaluations. Rather, they summarize in a report the primary disputes between the parents. The report can then help the judge, the parents and their respective attorneys arrive at the best solution. CNAs are less in-depth than traditional custody assessments or evaluations and take less time. For these reasons, they cost the parents less and are often ordered before more formal evaluations are. In many, but not all, custody disputes, a CNA report can help all parties come to the best solution. For more complex cases, however, a full parenting or custody assessment may still be needed. In these cases, the results of a CNA can provide valuable insight to inform a more formal assessment.
If you are involved in a complex child custody or parenting time dispute, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney about your case. A CNA may not be able to shed light on all relevant issues or clearly identify the major concerns of both parents. When it comes to child custody and parenting time, the most important factors are the child’s best interests. In complex cases, a full parenting assessment is necessary to ensure the court has the information needed to make the best decision for the family.
Do you have questions about custody and parenting assessments? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can advise you of your rights and help you through the parenting or custody assessment process. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.