Preparing For A Court Ordered Time-Sharing Evaluation
Child custody and time-sharing issues are some of the most emotionally charged matters that couples will face in a Florida divorce. This is especially true in cases where a couple is unable to come to an agreement on how time-sharing will be divided, as a court will need to step in and make these determinations on the parties’ behalf. In this assessment, one piece of evidence that a court may consider is a custody or time-sharing evaluation. These evaluations are ordered by the court and conducted by a licensed psychologist who, after interviewing the child and the parents, makes recommendations about the type of custody arrangement that would be in a child’s best interests. If a judge has ordered you to undergo a time-sharing evaluation and you have questions about how those results could affect the court’s ruling, please reach out to an experienced Fort Lauderdale child visitation and time-sharing attorney for help.
What Happens During a Custody Evaluation?
Custody evaluations are made up of a few different elements, including interviews with both parents and their children. The psychologist assigned to the case may also interview the child’s extended family members, teachers, neighbors, friends, and coaches and may conduct a number of psychological tests. Upon the completion of an evaluation, the psychologist will submit a final written report to the court containing his or her findings and recommendations, as well as:
- A summary report of each parent’s strengths and weaknesses as a parent;
- Summaries of the statements from witnesses;
- A summary of any psychological tests and the impact of those results on a parent’s ability to parent the child;
- A summary of the information provided by the child;
- The evaluator’s recommendations for the family’s parenting plan; and
- Suggestions for therapy or parenting classes.
Call our office today to learn more about how your own custody evaluation could affect your custody arrangement.
Preparing for Your Custody Evaluation
Most parents are understandably nervous about the thought of being evaluated by a psychologist. There are a few tips, however, that can help parents reduce their anxiety and stress, including:
- Organizing any documents needed for the meeting ahead of time;
- Writing down any questions they have for the evaluator;
- Remembering not to be defensive, but to focus on being honest and sincere;
- Communicating in a way that demonstrates knowledge of their child’s interests, needs, and desires;
- Listening carefully to the evaluator and answering only the question being asked;
- Using specific facts and details to support their answers; and
- Remaining courteous and respectful throughout the exchange.
It’s also a good idea for parents to prepare their children for the evaluation by explaining what the interview will entail and encouraging them to be honest about their thoughts and feelings.
Set Up a Meeting with Our Legal Team Today
If a judge ordered a custody evaluation as a part of your divorce, feel free to call dedicated child visitation and time-sharing lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to learn more about what you can expect and how to prepare for your interview.