St. Louis, MO- Ask any divorce lawyer what cause the most arguments between a divorcing couple, and they’ll probably tell you it’s child custody. Sometimes the argument over custody is nearly impossible to resolve, and the family courts need to rely on child custody evaluations to determine the final child custody arrangement.
What is a child custody evaluation?
It is better for all parties involved if a couple can agree on child custody arrangements without interference from the court, but child custody can be very difficult to resolve. If the family court is tasked with deciding an arrangement, they may order a custody or parental evaluation.
Custody evaluations are stringent and take a long time to complete. These evaluations look at which parent can provide a child or children with the care and emotional and financial support they need.
What happens during a child custody evaluation?
Child custody evaluations are conducted by a third party assigned by the family court. Usually, a psychologist oversees the evaluation and looks at an individual’s parenting skills and observe how they interact with their children. Evaluators are supposed to objectively assess what is in the best interest of a child and see how each parent interacts with their child.
As part of a custody evaluation, each parent will be subjected to a battery of psychological tests, interviews, home visits and witness testimony. It’s common to undergo at least a couple of interviews for an evaluation and have a couple of home visits which allows and evaluator the opportunity to observe interactions between the divorcing parents and their children.
The interviews and home visit gives the evaluator insight into each parent’s lifestyle and their ability to be a good parent. Psychological tests are utilized to get an understanding of each parent’s emotional state and examine their nurturing skills.
Once and evaluator has made their observations and conducted their interviews, they will submit their suggestions to a family court judge. Usually, family courts follow the suggestions of a child custody evaluator, but a judge has the option to dismiss a suggestion.
If you go through the parental evaluation process, it’s important you be honest with the evaluator and follow any recommendations they have. Listen to their criticisms and take their advice to heart because their goal is to do what is best for your child or children.
Child custody evaluations can drag on for months, so a couple needs to be certain that is the right course for them to pursue. We recommend divorcing couples in St. Louis contact a child custody lawyer for their representation and their assistance with their child custody issues. Call the Missouri office of child custody lawyer Barbara Behrens at 314-499-6999 and set up a consultation. She has the skills and compassion needed to help couples get through the acrimony and arguments and make wise decisions about their children. Visit her website at http://barbarabehrensdivorceattorney.com/ and learn how she can help your case.