When a couple gets a divorce, it’s not just about splitting up the property, the pain- but what about the children?
A custody evaluation is by far the best way to determine what is best for the child(ren). The purpose of this evaluation is to assess your individual and overall family factors that may (potentially) affect the best interests of the child. Divorce courts give considerable weight to the recommendations of the evaluator.
Since the custody evaluation process is so important and can also be very tricky, it is to be recommended that you learn everything you can about the process as early as possible.
There are a couple of things that you can keep in mind:
Arrive on time at your interview, and best dress neatly. It’s ok to be yourself but be honest. The custody evaluator is often a psychologist and such people are good at guessing that you are saying things just to look good, or whether your words come from the heart. The more honest you are about your strengths and your weaknesses, the more chance that they’ll believe you.
It is alright to be nervous; most people are. You may also cry a little, but pay attention to what the evaluator is telling you.
Take your time to answer a question. If you don’t understand what is being asked of you, don’t be shy to ask for a better explanation.
Prepare your paper work before the evaluation. Have everything documented. You can perhaps keep a journal or offer a personal custody plan that is child friendly and tailored to the needs of your kid.
Keep the paper work well organized. Include school records (like report cards, notes from teachers, attendance records, …) and doctor visits (check-ups etc.)
Make sure you keep track of your children’s activities.
If your provide the evaluator with names (perhaps of teachers, neighbors, …), be attentive and warn those people in advance. If they rather not speak on your behalf, don’t mention them.
Look like you’re a reasonable person and that you place the concerns of your children above yours.
There are also a couple of things that you better not do:
Do not speak negatively about your partner/spouse when the evaluator asks you to comment on what your perceive to be the problem between you two.
Do not make threatening comments about your partner or anyone else in front of the evaluator.
Better not harass the evaluator with phone calls, before, during or after.
Do not drop by his office without an invitation.
Do not prep your children to say things that are not true about their other parent. The custody evaluator has means of knowing that they don’t speak the truth.
Normally, custody evaluators are reasonable people, who recognize the stress the ones being interviewed are under. They will take this into account while doing their evaluation. If you are feeling anxious, it is good to recognize it honestly and allow the evaluator to help some of your worries out of the way.