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What to Know About Child Custody Evaluation

If you are going through a divorce with children involved, you'll likely go through a child custody evaluation. This is an evaluation ordered by the court to look at the parenting techniques and mental health of either one or both of the parents. The custody evaluation can play a big role in your custody battle, which is why it helps to know more about this evaluation that you may have to go through. 

Why a Judge Orders a Child Custody Evaluation

A custody evaluation is not always performed, but it is done in situations where custody is contested. A judge may also order one if they feel like there would be issues concerning the child's safety if they were with one parent. For example, if there are signs of mental health problems, substance abuse, child abuse, and things of that nature. This can also be necessary when one parent is moving, and the judge wants to make sure that they are picking the parent that will be best for the child. However, know that you can also request a child custody evaluation if you are involved in a custody battle as well. This is often the case when custody cannot be agreed on in some areas, and you need evidence to show you are the better parent.

What the Evaluator Looks For

The custody evaluator is supposed to be a neutral party, even if you requested the custody evaluation to happen. It will sometimes happen with an in-home visit, but it can also be done through an interview. You'll be given a lot of paperwork to fill out that answers questions about your parenting style and personal history, but also give you the opportunity to voice your concerns about the other parent. This will help give the evaluator an idea of what to look for, so make sure that you are thorough and do a good job at filling out the paperwork. 

What You Should do to Succeed

This is one of the most important interviews you'll have because you are essentially interviewing to be the parent of your children. Make sure that you dress nice for the interview, are calm for the interview, and be respectful to the evaluator. You also do not want to manipulate your kids into saying things that will benefit you. That sort of behavior can be spotted, and will not always be favorably toward you. Overall, just be yourself and try not to put on a fake persona. If you come off as putting on a pretend front for the interview, it will be used against you. 

For more information, a child custody lawyer can help.