The Importance of a Child Custody Evaluation by Guest Blogger, Enrica ClavitoIf you are a parent who is divorced or in the process of a divorce and cannot agree on parenting issues with the other parent a child custody evaluation may be done by an independent and objective mental health evaluator who have a minimum of a Master’s degree. The evaluator also has many hours of post-Masters training and experience. The evaluation is a lengthy process and includes the ability to assess, diagnose, provide comprehensive reports, and sometimes testify in court. Child custody evaluations are much more involved and take specialized training to conduct. They take many more hours to complete and include the ability to work well with children and adults. Often there is interaction with many people and other professionals. The professional doing the evaluation will determine what is in the best interest of the child or children involved.

In order for the evaluation to take place both parents must agree to the custody evaluation in writing or the court will give an order stating the child custody evaluation is necessary. Once arranged, both parents will be seen together for the first meeting so the evaluation process, fees and expectations can be explained. They will also have to sign the necessary paperwork at that time. Besides the children in the family being evaluated, the parents are evaluated as well. It may be necessary to look over mental health, school and medical records as well as make home visits for assessment. The mental health evaluator may also speak with neighbors and other non-relatives for further information. Generally, the whole process takes from one to two months.

The written report on findings must be completely paid for before it can be released to the court or attorney because the evaluator attempts to avoid being vulnerable to allegations of bias. It is helpful, in assuring both parties of objectivity, to be free to render one’s opinion or recommendation without fear of difficulty collecting fees.

Keep in mind; a child custody mental health evaluator is a neutral and impartial evaluator of what is in the best interests of the children. The evaluation is an objective assessment of the children’s needs and each parent’s ability to meet those needs. He is she is not a therapist to them or to either parent. The evaluation does not take one parent’s side against the other or determine fault or blame for the divorce. To find out more information about child custody evaluation please visit http://www.jaffepsych.com/forensic-specialist/.

Have you considered a child custody evaluator? What results have you found with a custody evaluation?

Guest blogger is Enrica Clavito. He loves reading books and writing creative and interesting topics. He writes especially for Alan Jaffe. Visit the site to learn more of child custody evaluation. Image courtesy of Phaitoon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.