What is a Custody Evaluation?
Posted by Mary E. Ramos | Child Custody
While there is no denying that going through a divorce is difficult for everyone involved, unfortunately, sometimes the children suffer most. Going through such a significant change in family structure is often very challenging for children. Despite this difficulty, it is also important to note that the end results can be positive overall. As you go through the divorce process, be sure to take necessary steps to ensure that proper custodial decisions are made in the best interest of your child. Hiring a reputable divorce lawyer in Houston should be your first step.
Try to Reach an Agreement
Once you have consulted with an attorney about your options and how to approach them, most courts require that the parties attempt to reach an agreement regarding child custody. In an ideal situation both parents would be able to cordially arrive at an agreement that works for both parents and children. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. It is important to attend a formal mediation or have informal settlement negotiations so that parents can determine what the true issues are before going to court. Having a good divorce lawyer in Houston will definitely help you get the best custodial agreement for your family.
Factors to Consider
When an amicable conclusion cannot be reached, it may be necessary for a judge to order a custody evaluation. During this process, a mental health professional (usually a psychologist) will evaluate each parent and determine the best course of action for the child. There are a number of factors to consider in this process, including the following:
- The child’s physical and emotional needs
- The stability of the home
- The child’s preference
- Other siblings
- Geographic proximity
- Primary caregiver duties
- Whether or not a spouse is fit to be a parent
Consult with an Attorney
These are just some of the factors that will be carefully scrutinized as a custody evaluator is attempting to determine the best case scenario for the child as a whole. Be sure to talk to a divorce lawyer in Houston so that you can build your case. A good attorney will give you the advice you need to gather evidence and prepare for the evaluation. Your attorney will be able to provide you with valuable insight that will help you present your strongest case to the custody evaluator.
Finalizing Custody Decisions in Court
When the evaluation is complete, the evaluator will prepare a detailed report for the judge to consider. This report will be based on psychological testing and the observations of both the parents and the children. Most judges take these evaluations very seriously and will give considerable weight to the decision of the evaluator. Although the report is just a recommendation, judges often rely heavily on the decision of a trained professional. For this reason, it is important to be detailed and prepared when meeting with a custody evaluator.
Take Advantage of Your Legal Resources
While going through a custody battle is an extremely stressful situation, you can take solace in the fact that a good divorce lawyer in Houston will help you to get through it. Instead of attempting to go through this critical stage in your family’s life alone, hire a trusted attorney to walk you through it. In the long run, using a reputable lawyer means that you are more likely to achieve the results that your child deserves. Call Ramos Law Group, PLLC today and get the expert legal advice you deserve.