Cooperation: the Key to a Successful Custody Evaluation
Cooperate. If you are looking for one word that will prepare you for your child custody evaluation, and give you the best chance of gaining custody of Johnny, that’s it.
Cooperate. Do you want to be there? No. Do you have to be there? No. Only if you want custody of your child.
And that means cooperate under every circumstance. Make yourself available for appointments, answer all questions honestly—and you’ll get a ton of those.
This child custody evaluator holds tremendous sway in your life, and more importantly, that of your child’s.
Just as with every step of divorce, this one is complicated, and uncomfortable. You will probably want to resist, either because you fear an unfavorable recommendation or you just don’t like being told what to do. Well, you can be right for short-term, or you can potentially gain custody of your child for life.
Being uncooperative makes you look like you exercise poor judgment, and questions your decision-making ability. Maybe the biggest problem is to blur the line between bad spouse and bad parent. Focus on the parenting. Your spouse may have been unfaithful or unfair to you, that doesn’t necessarily reflect a negatively as a parent.
Venting about how your Ex disrespected you or abused you probably won’t help your case unless you have evidence that the actions directly negatively affected your children. Sometimes, especially in the emotional chasm that goes on during a divorce, to blur those roles, or even not really think about the blur.
Solution: Prepare. Think of the issues and specific situations where your Ex either neglected or did actual harm to your child, and focus on those issues. Go through a “grilling” with a friend. Ask the friend to ask you to address issues you might not have thought of. That will not only help you determine where you should go and where you shouldn’t, but it will give you more confidence when you walk in to meet the evaluator.
And that alone is worth the effort.
In our last installment, we discuss what if any you tell Mary about the child custody evaluation.
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