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What to Expect Out of a Child Custody Evaluation

As part of the process of creating a child custody arrangement, you may need to go through what’s called a “child custody evaluation.” This evaluation is performed by an independent and neutral third party who training and/or experience in family law or family dynamics allowing them to make recommendations to judges about the custody arrangement that would be in the best interest of those children.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, the judge may assign you a custody evaluator or allow you to choose an evaluator. Either way, the process of the evaluation should be consistent from case to case.

Here’s a general idea of what you can expect the evaluator to do:

  • Conduct interviews with you and the other parent several times in planned appointment sessions
  • Conduct interviews with each child
  • Carefully analyze your court file and the various factors at issue in your divorce
  • Collect information from other people who are familiar with the children and the family, including teachers, doctors, therapists, caregivers and any other witnesses whose insights could be helpful
  • Spend some time with each child in the presence of each parent for the purpose of observing how you interact with them

Upon completion of the evaluation sessions, the evaluator creates a report and submits it to you, your spouse and the court. This report may make recommendations about custody and visitation schedules, whether it’s appropriate for the family to attend therapy sessions (or any individuals to do so), how to deal with specific sensitive issues in the divorce and conflict resolution strategies for the family to employ in the future.

For more information on what you can expect out of a child custody evaluation and how you can best prepare, consult a dedicated Minnesota divorce lawyer with Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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