In disputed custody cases, the court can order the parents to undergo a custody evaluation by a licensed mental health professional. These evaluations, along with the final recommendation for custody, will help the judge make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.
The job of the custody evaluator is to assess the family’s and the child’s needs and gather information through a variety of methods, such as interviewing and reviewing records. Then, the evaluator will make a formal recommendation for custody to the court. Your job during this process is to cooperate, participate, and ultimately make sure the evaluator has all the necessary information needed to make a sound recommendation. To prepare for this, here are a few guidelines for your conduct and behavior during the evaluation.
Focus on relevance. The evaluation is about custody and parenting, so information about your divorce with the other parent and other similar matters will not help the evaluator, nor will it reflect you in a positive light.
Stay neutral. Don’t try to cast yourself as the golden parent or make false allegations against the other parent. Let the results of the evaluation speak for itself. And don’t think you need to counteract any bad remarks the other parent makes. If you remain neutral and contribute without fighting back, the other parent’s conduct will speak volumes more.
Focus on your child in a healthy way. Make sure the evaluator knows you care for your child, are attentive to his or her needs, and in no way intentionally subject your child to the conflict between you and the other parent. Don’t train your child to say certain things to the evaluator. The evaluator most likely will be able to pick up on that. Also, remember that whatever you do or say should convey that you have your child’s best interests in mind.
Try to relax and be useful. The evaluator expects most parents to be nervous during this process. Under such scrutiny, it is completely normal. But having a relaxed and positive attitude can show the evaluator just how much your child’s well-being means to you.
You should speak with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney if you are facing a custody evaluation or similar assessment. It’s important to know what the evaluator will be looking for before you begin the process. This can help you know what information will be valuable and what information could influence his or her recommendation to the court. An attorney can advise you of your rights and explain how the custody evaluation process takes place so you can undergo the evaluation with confidence knowing both your rights and those of your child will be protected.
Custody evaluations are high-stakes, but the knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Law Group, LLC have the experience needed to defend your rights as a parent and protect your child’s best interests. 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.