What is a Custody Evaluation?

As a family law attorney, I often have clients ask about custody evaluations. A custody evaluation is a written report by a neutral professional that makes a recommendation to the Court as to what custody/visitation arrangement would be in the best interests of the children involved. Custody evaluations are most often utilized in highly contested custody disputes. In the course of their investigation, a custody evaluator will interview both parents, observe the children with each of the parents, conduct age-appropriate interviews with the children, and interview other significant people such as teachers, daycare providers, healthcare providers, extended family members and friends. A well drafted report will contain a summary of the information collected, an assessment of the family and the needs of the children and will also recommend a custody/visitation arrangement. The custody evaluator's recommendation is just one factor that the Court will take into consideration when deciding what custody/visitation arrangement is in the children's long range best interests.

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