If two parents cannot agree upon who should take care of the children following a divorce, custody evaluations may be necessary. Custody evaluations can be ordered by the parents, the guardian ad litem, an attorney, or the court. For a custody evaluation to occur, the court’s approval is required.
Custody evaluations are conducted by licensed psychologists and help courts determine the custody option that is in the best interests of the children. The evaluator assesses the children’s psychological needs and determines which parent can meet them best.
Different Types of Custody Evaluations
The two main types of custody evaluations are focused-issue and full custody evaluations. A full custody evaluation is a comprehensive investigation of the relationship between the children and the parents. It often results in a custody recommendation. A focused-issue evaluation examines one issue that is pertinent to the children’s welfare. A focused-issue evaluation may not result in a specific custody recommendation.
Full Custody Evaluation
Typically, evaluators in full custody evaluations explore many issues that affect children’s welfare. They might:
- Interview each parent
- Interview individuals close to the parents, such as neighbors or family friends
- Interview the children
- Psychologically evaluate the parents
- Visit the home of both of the parents
- Observe interactions that take place between parent and child
- Consult healthcare professionals who work with the family
The evaluator will prepare a custody recommendation for the judge, based on information gathered.
In this case, the evaluator focuses on only one issue that can adversely affect the children’s welfare. Common focus issues include:
- Parental fitness
- Addictive disorders
- Anger issues
- Psychological disorders
How Can You Prepare for a Georgia Custody Evaluation?
It is advisable for parents to consult a family law attorney when preparing for a custody evaluation. The attorney will help you understand the process and advise you on the best practices. Ideally, you should work with an attorney with experience handling custody evaluations. During evaluations, you should be honest, cooperative and avoid coaching children on what to say. Always remain calm and respectful to the evaluator to achieve an outcome that serves the children’s best interests.
Contact O’Driscoll Keller Law Group, LLC if you have further questions about custody evaluation, or if you need guidance throughout your custody case. We will handle your case with compassion, and maximize the chances that you obtain the case outcome you deserve.