Divorcing with children is a complicated process. Sometimes, a custody evaluation is required if the parents can’t agree on custody or a visitation schedule. A custody evaluation is a court-ordered report to determine the best interests of the children. The evaluation will likely consist of one or more of the following: psychological assessment, guardian ad litem report, or court investigation. During the custody evaluation process, the evaluator will:

  • Conduct multiple interviews with you and your ex-spouse
  • Interview your children
  • Observe each parent during their interactions with the children
  • Possibly conduct interviews with teachers or health care providers
  • May require the parents to undergo psychological testing
  • Review legal activity surrounding the divorce

There are a few important things to remember when going through a custody evaluation:

  • Be truthful. It is very important to remain honest about your parenting history and current situation. Only answer the question that is asked, don’t go off topic to state your case.
  • Think about your children’s best interests. Make sure to keep your children’s best interests in mind when answering the questions. You should note the benefits of having both parents involved in your children’s lives.
  • Express your custody preference once. It’s okay to express your custody preference, however, only do it once.
  • Follow up with necessary paperwork. If your evaluator asks to see additional paperwork, be sure to provide it right away.
  • Tell your children to be honest. Stress the importance of honesty during your children’s interviews. Do not coach them on what to say or do.
  • Be prepared. It might help to think of the custody evaluation as a job interview. Arrive to your interviews on time and prepared.
  • Do not criticize the other parent. The important thing is to stress the benefits you offer. While it is legitimate to raise concerns regarding the other parent, it is better to show the good things you can offer the children.
  • Never refer to the children as “my” children. Remember that the children have two parents, refer to them as “the children,” “our children” or by name. Using the term “my” makes it appear that you don’t acknowledge the other parent.

Arons & Solomon is dedicated to New Jersey matrimonial and family law. We emphasize personal attention to each client’s unique situation and needs. Our lawyers have intensive experience ranging from child custody and parenting time disputes to division of assets and support. Contact us today for a free consultation.