If you are embroiled in a custody dispute with your soon-to-be ex-spouse or your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, it could arguably be the most emotionally stressful experience of your life. Simply put, custody disputes are not fun, and the stress that parents (and kids) experience is why there are many options to use alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and early neutral evaluations.
However, not every dispute is appropriate for mediation, and a custody evaluator may be appointed by the court. Many parents may not understand what a custody evaluator does or who this person is, so this post will highlight a few things that they do.
The child’s best interests – The central question that an evaluator must answer is what is in the child’s best interests. In doing so, the evaluator will make recommendations regarding a host of points, including the child’s home and surroundings.
The parents’ ability to co-parent – Indeed, a child’s parents may no longer be together romantically, but they still have to be able to co-parent effectively. As such, the evaluator may look at how the parents communicate with each other and manage transitions with the child.
Continuity and stability – Another important question is how stable the child’s home environment is and whether there needs to be a change based on it. As such, the evaluator may conduct a home visit and schedule an interview to assess the home environment.
If you have additional questions about custody evaluators and how to prepare for them, an experienced family law attorney can help.