Custody Evaluations can help build peace in your case, depending on the specific circumstances. A Custody Evaluation involves a neutral evaluator performing an evaluation of your family. The neutral will then generate a report which contains his/her recommendations relative to the best interest factors, your child, and what the evaluator feels is the best custody arrangement for your family. Importantly, the evaluator’s report is not binding on the Court, but it can be very persuasive to a judge.
A Custody Evaluation is a useful tool for providing objective information to the Court while also potentially increasing the possibility of reaching a settlement. If your attorney (or the opposing side’s attorney) suggests that you participate in a Custody Evaluation, it does not necessarily mean that your case must follow the litigation path. The Custody Evaluation can be very helpful for litigation, but it can also be very helpful for achieving a settlement in your case.
Evaluators, attorneys, and mental health consultants involved in the custody evaluation process can also help influence parents to remain focused on the children’s needs and less on parental conflict. This may help reduce conflict and help the parents understand what arrangement would work best for their child moving forward.
Once your custody evaluation is complete, take a few days to digest the results before making any decisions. You should review the report carefully, process any emotional reactions you may have, consider the emotional and financial costs of further litigation, and the potential for settlement. If you have an attorney, you should always discuss the results of the report with him/her and your options moving forward, given the results.