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Protecting Your Rights In Family Matters

What is the role of custody evaluators?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Child Custody

Custody evaluations play a vital role in child custody cases in Illinois. They help the court decide what is best for the child. An evaluator may be a licensed mental health professional, a psychologist or a social worker. They can also be a psychiatrist with experience in family and child development.

What is the process of custody evaluations?

Custody evaluations provide the court with an objective assessment of the family dynamics. The evaluator’s recommendations can help the judge make informed decisions regarding custody and visitation arrangements.

  • Interviews: The evaluator will interview both parents, the child, and sometimes other significant individuals in the child’s life, such as teachers and caregivers.
  • Observations: The evaluator will assess the quality of the parent-child relationship by observing the child while the child is with either parent.
  • Psychological testing: In some cases, they might conduct psychological tests to assess the parents’ mental health and parenting capabilities.
  • Home visits: Evaluators may visit both parents’ homes to understand the living conditions and environment in which the child would reside.
  • Review of records: The evaluator may review school records, medical records and any previous court documents related to the custody case.

After completing the evaluation, the evaluator compiles a thorough report that includes their findings and recommendations and submits it to the court. The court may consider this evaluation as evidence during custody hearings.

Can a bad evaluation affect child custody decisions?

While the evaluator’s recommendations are not binding, they carry substantial weight in the court’s decision-making process. Judges often rely on these expert assessments to make decisions that serve the child’s best interests. Having a legal professional may be beneficial for a better understanding of the process and for addressing any concerns arising from the evaluation.

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