Child Custody Evaluations
Factors for Determining Child Custody
What is a Custody Evaluation?
A child custody evaluation is a process where a licensed mental health care professional or a Guardian Ad-Litem (GAL) evaluates what, in their professional opinion, they believe would be in the best interest of the child. Evaluations may focus on a child's psychological needs, home environment and living conditions, family conditions, and other matters relating to each child.
The overarching principle behind a custody evaluation is that, given case volumes, a court has limited time to evaluate what are often detailed factual allegations related to custody. Thus, the neutral evaluator plays a critical role in being available to investigate these matters on a deeper level. Once their investigation is complete, they combine their findings with their knowledge about what is in children's best interest to provide a summary of findings and recommendations to the court.
The parties may agree to have a child custody evaluation done, or the court may order a child custody evaluation if they believe that the findings would aid in determining what is in the best interest of a child.