What is a Child Custody Evaluation?

What is a Child Custody Evaluation?

Consider this scenario: You are in the middle of a highly contested child custody case – it may be part of a divorce case. You and your child’s mother or father may not be married to each other. It may even be a modification case.

The Court has ordered a child custody evaluation.

There are many questions that go through your head: What happens next? What should you expect? How should you act? Do you have to handle this on your own or will your attorney provide assistance? Will the process be fair?  How much will it cost?

Jurisdictions throughout Maryland handle child custody evaluations differently. Some have in-house employees. Others have contract professionals. Many courts allow the parties to recommend a private custody evaluator.

Child custody evaluations are a critical process requiring the client and family attorney to work closely with one another.  An experienced family law attorney can walk you through the process, step by step. He or she can provide reading material, help you to rehearse for various aspects of the process, and – perhaps most importantly – manage your expectations.

Remember, your attorney looks at the case from his or her own perspective. You are looking at it from your perspective, and that of your children. Many custody evaluators, while wanting to do their work well, also want additional referrals from the Court. Judges and family law magistrates are looking for help to get the best answer for the children.

One of the country’s most respected family law judges – the Honorable Dianna Gould-Saltman of California, wrote an informative piece on the “Ten Things Judges Appreciate in a Child Custody Evaluation.” If you are going through a child custody case, read this, as well as everything else your family law attorney provides.

And remember, this is about your children. Listen to your attorney, because far too many parents are simply not built for a process that can often be uncivil, litigious, and unfair.

At SIEGELLAW, our representation is designed to help parents secure the best possible outcome to their child custody case. We can put our decades of experience to work, helping you secure the child custody and visitation agreement you need. Call us at 410-792-2300 or fill out the form to request more information.