How To Prepare For And Manage A Custody Evaluation

A custody evaluation is an extremely important part of a divorce or a post-divorce case involving children in Utah. Historically, courts did not require custody evaluations. That's changed over the last few years, however, and now most commissioners and judges order a custody evaluation on almost every case. Part of the rationale for this is that without an evaluation, the most important issue in the trial (custody of your children) essentially turns into a he-said, she-said situation.

Therefore, it is critically important that you find a skilled attorney who knows the rules and how they work and will coach you to help you maximize your potential in a custody evaluation.

Who Is Qualified To Conduct The Custody Evaluation?

It is important to understand who a custody evaluator is and what they are tasked to do in your case. Most custody evaluators have a master's degree or a Ph.D. Their job is to go through a list of factors with both parties and their children, interview everyone, perform psychological testing and make home visits. They come up with their own conclusions and recommendations based on their findings.

The custody evaluator's ultimate conclusions are shared with the parties in a final mediation-like setting, or in the final trial. If the parties are unable to settle custody, parenting time and related issues, then the custody evaluator becomes essentially an expert witness who will testify to the court on all these issues. The judge frequently follows this expert's direction.

For all these reasons, seek a custody lawyer who understands the evaluator's perspective and can guide you capably through the process.

When To Start Getting Ready For Your Evaluation

If you are a devoted father or mother facing a divorce or a post-divorce modification, a custody evaluation will provide you the opportunity to prove your fitness as a parent and have a tremendous impact on your case.

It is never too soon to begin thinking about and preparing for a custody evaluation. Start now by keeping a journal documenting your parental involvement. Talk to a knowledgeable attorney long before a custody evaluation is imminent.

It cannot be overstated how important it is to have an experienced lawyer who understands the evaluators in this area, what each one likes and dislikes, and the applicable rules, and who can help you through this delicate and critical process. An experienced attorney can discuss the following with you and explain how these and other factors may affect your case:

  • Your child's age
  • Your children's preference
  • Who has been the primary caretaker of your child, and who has time now to care for your child
  • Whether there have been any issues with physical abuse, emotional abuse, drug addiction or alcohol abuse

Advantages Of Working With Our Family Law Firm

At Kristopher K. Greenwood & Associates, LC, we understand the law, the rules and what custody evaluators are looking for.

We are zealous advocates for our clients, and we will take time to explain the entire process to you. We pride ourselves on educating our clients and then coaching them through this extremely important process. Other attorneys may tell you to go see the evaluator without providing you details, information or coaching. We do the opposite: We want our clients to understand how the evaluation works and what the evaluator will be looking for.

We devote a great deal of care to helping parents proceed confidently through this critical stage of a custody case.

For Answers To Questions About Custody Evaluators And The Process, Contact Us Today!

We have dealt with countless custody evaluations and have a firm grasp on what you can expect. Our experience can be a tremendous asset to you as you approach a high-stakes custody evaluation. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you, educate you and help you through this high-stakes family law matter. We have convenient offices located in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Park City and Lehi. Please call our main telephone number at 801-317-8968 or complete our online contact form to arrange for a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today.