One of the most important parts of a child custody case will not happen in a courtroom. Instead, it will occur in your home or at the office of the court appointed custody evaluator. The custody evaluator, the expert selected by the court, will inform the court of what is best for your child. While judges are not required to follow the recommendations of the evaluators, most will follow the majority of the recommendations. Therefore, you need to be prepared for your evaluation.
The most important step you can take in preparing for a custody evaluation is to meet with your lawyer and follow his or her advice. You most likely have never been through an evaluation before. Your lawyer has seen hundreds of them. Trust his or her advice.
Also, you need to make sure you have your facts straight. Make sure you know the details and dates of the major milestones in your child’s life. You should be prepared to talk about both the positive and negative things in your life. Imagine what question you are most worried about. Ask your lawyer about how to handle that question. Never lie to the custody evaluator. This will harm your case.
Always be polite and professional with the evaluator. Show up on time and be prepared. However, remember that the evaluator is not your friend or your confidant. The evaluator has a job to do and has been appointed by the court. Even if the judge appointed the custody evaluator you were hoping for, the evaluator is not on your side.
Preparing Your Child
Children are under a lot of stress in custody cases. The way you talk to your child about the evaluation will depend on your child’s age. You should never coach your child about what to say or not say to the evaluator. You need to communicate to your child that he or she needs to be honest with the evaluator and that you will not ask the child about what is said to the evaluator.
Your child also needs to know that he or she is not picking one parent over another. If possible, both parents should be present when talking to the child about what is expected so that there is no misunderstanding about what was said. The evaluator will likely ask the child what his or her parents said about the evaluation process.
If you have any questions concerning child custody, parenting time, or any other family law issue, please contact a skilled DuPage County family law lawyer. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation.