A quick look at child custody evaluations in California

Child custody matters can be complex. After all, it’s not always easy to determine what kind of arrangement furthers a child’s best interests, especially when both parents have differing ideas about what accomplishes that task. A court is in just as difficult of a position, especially considering that it doesn’t really know your family except whatever information is presented to it. This means that if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on a child custody arrangement then the matter will be left in the hands of someone who will make a lasting impact on your family, perhaps without adequate information.

The child custody evaluation

Under the California rules of evidence, the court can order a child custody evaluation. These evaluations are aimed at providing the court with the information that it needs to make a well informed decision regarding custody matters before it. The evaluations can be pretty broad in scope, too. They can, of course, include an interview with the child or children, but it can also involve observations of each parent’s interactions with the child, review of pertinent records such as those pertaining to schooling, interviews with other individuals like teachers and neighbors, and even consultation with other experts.

The evaluation process can seem daunting and like you’re placed under a microscope. But you can prepare yourself for the evaluation by planning activities that your child enjoys during your observations and anticipating and preparing answers to questions that might be asked of you during an interview.

Protect your child’s best interests

That’s not to say that you have to agree with the final report that is made by the evaluator and provided to the court. On the contrary, you can challenge any or all aspects of the evaluation. But to successfully do so you need to know how to build compelling arguments that are based on the law and the facts. This might not be as easy as it seems, though, which is why many parents who find themselves in this situation choose to turn to an experienced family law attorney for help.