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What is the Role of a Child Custody Evaluator?  

 Posted on February 09, 2023 in Child Custody

wheaton divorce lawyerIn divorce cases involving children, a child custody evaluator may play a critical role in determining the best interests of children involved in custody disputes. They are typically court-appointed professionals with specialized training and experience in child psychology, family dynamics, and relevant laws. A child custody evaluator's main objective is to provide a recommendation to the court regarding what parenting arrangement will serve the child's best interests. 

Child custody can be an extremely contentious issue. If you are getting a divorce and are going through a complex or combative child custody dispute, working with an attorney who has dealt with child custody evaluators can make a positive difference in easing your stress and can provide you with guidance as you work through this important process. 

What Does the Child Evaluator Do?

The evaluator starts the process by conducting a thorough assessment of the family, including interviews with the parents, children, and other relevant individuals such as extended family members, teachers, and therapists. They will also review relevant documentation such as school and medical records and may observe parenting interactions to gain insight into each parent's relationship with the child. 

Once the evaluation is complete, the evaluator prepares a written report and presents it to the court. The report will generally include a detailed description of the child's needs and the parent's abilities to meet those needs, as well as recommendations for custody arrangements, parenting time schedules, and any other provisions that would support the child's well-being. The evaluator's recommendations carry significant weight and are usually given great deference by the court, although the final decision is ultimately up to the judge. 

It is important to note that the evaluator is neutral and does not take sides in the dispute. They are expected to act impartially, making their recommendations based solely on the child's best interests. The evaluator's role is not to assign blame or determine who is at fault but to provide the court with objective, evidence-based information to inform its decision-making process. These professionals play a vital role in ensuring that children are placed in the best possible living arrangements, given their unique circumstances, needs, and relationships with their parents. 

How Should Parents Interact with the Evaluator? 

Parents should interact with the child custody evaluator professionally and cooperatively. Here are some tips for parents: 

  • Be honest – Parents should be truthful and open with the evaluator about their parenting abilities, relationship with the child, and any concerns they may have. The evaluator needs accurate information to make an informed recommendation.

  • Respect the evaluator's role – The evaluator is neutral and impartial and is not taking sides in the dispute. Therefore, parents should treat the evaluator respectfully and not attempt to sway their opinion or influence their recommendations.

  • Communicate clearly – Parents should answer the evaluator's questions thoroughly and honestly and provide any relevant information that the evaluator requests. It is also important to ask questions if there is anything they do not understand or if they need clarification. 

  • Follow the evaluator's instructions – The evaluator may have specific instructions for the parents, such as visiting the child at certain times or providing detailed documentation. Parents should follow these instructions promptly and thoroughly to ensure that the evaluation process goes smoothly. 

Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney

Child custody evaluators can play a pivotal role in child custody proceedings. If you are getting a divorce and have children, consider contacting the knowledgeable DuPage County child custody lawyers at The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.. Call 630-462-9500 for a private consultation. 




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