Let The Experts Weigh In: What To Know About Contested Child Custody

When couples agree what's best for their child, it can make for a more peaceful, quick and less-expensive divorce proceeding. If you and your spouse are in disagreement over who should be the primary custodian of your minor child, the judge may call in an expert in evaluating custody. These experts are trained specifically to view parent-child relationships to determine which parent should be the primary physical custodian, and which parent should be granted visitation. Read on to learn more about this important evaluation process.

Who are these experts? The judge will often provide you with a list of court-certified experts from which to choose. It's important for you to realize that you and/or your spouse will be responsible for paying this expert, and they do not come cheap. You can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 or even more for these services.

If the evaluation expert decides that another professional should be brought in, such as a psychometrist, to test your child, you can also expect to pay for that. Be sure to understand the financial obligation ahead of time and check your health insurance for coverage of some of the costs. You can expect to be dealing with experts from various mental health and social work backgrounds, such as child psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and more.

What happens during an evaluation? This evaluation process takes place over several different interview sessions, and can take weeks to be complete. You will find that the expert wants to speak with your child alone, with you and your spouse and the child, and more. Depending on the age of the child, the expert may use toys and other types of play therapy to determine your child's level of maturity and communication skills. For younger children, parents can often view counselor/child interviews through a window. In come cases, where needed, the expert may also interview the child's doctor, school personnel and other family members.

How should I handle the interviews? Being judged on your parenting skills and your relationship with your child can be nerve-wracking, no matter how confident you feel as a parent. The stakes could not be higher, so stay in contact with your divorce attorney throughout the process and alert them immediately if you feel things are going poorly. Another evaluation may be needed by another expert, and this is best done prior to the end of the first evaluation.

Contact a legal office, like the Law Office Of  Lori Crystal, LLC, for more help.