Parents with young children can find divorce especially challenging. They need to address and resolve matters such as child custody, child support, and child visitation. To determine the appropriate allocation of parenting time and parenting responsibilities, a court may order a professional evaluation. Centennial divorce attorneys can help parents of young children understand how to deal with custody evaluations. They will work with parents through the evaluation process. 

The Basics of Custody Evaluations

A custody evaluation is not always required in allocating parental responsibilities. The majority of custody issues are resolved without an evaluation. In general, a judge orders an evaluation if they need more information to make a final allocation of parental responsibilities. If needed, a qualified evaluator will be appointed to investigate and create a report. The evaluator is usually a trained mental health expert. 

When child custody investigators investigate matters at hand, they have broad discretion.  They can talk to anyone who knows the family, including friends, family members, neighbors, and school personnel. Also, they can review medical and schooling records. If necessary, they can recommend further evaluations to better gauge mental and physical health. 

Evaluator Recommendations

After collecting evidence, the evaluator will issue a written report that details the observations, interviews, and recommendations based on what they think is in the best interest of the child. The report can carry a lot of weight with a judge in a child custody proceeding. Judges need to take into account the findings and recommendations the custody evaluator makes. Parents and their lawyers must review the report as soon as possible because there are deadlines that begin with the issuance of the report. 

Working with a Reliable Attorney

A custody evaluation can be stressful and overwhelming to go through. Parents should keep in mind that the evaluator is a neutral party. When parents interact with the evaluator, they should take an open approach. Also, they should be prepared to protect their rights. When an evaluator has been appointed in a child custody case during a divorce, a parent should consult with a reputable divorce lawyer immediately. Their lawyer can help them analyze the report closely and determine how to buttress the portions of the report that support their position while reducing the harmful parts. They will help parents approach these evaluations and address them in court properly. An experienced divorce lawyer can help ensure parents can build the best legal arguments for their case.