Sep 23 2007

Facing a Custody Evaluation?

Published by at 1:41 pm under Counseling & Psychotherapy,Divorce

A divorce is traumatic enough. Having to face a custody evaluation only adds to the tremendous stress everyone in the family experiences.

A custody evaluation typically is ordered by the court when parents are viewed as being in extreme conflict and the decision about who gets custody and the nature of the visitation schedule needs the input of court appointed or agreed upon experts. The experts are often a team of professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and family therapists.

What’s at stake? It is all very important to the well-being of everyone in the family, especially the children. Children feel torn in their loyalties to both parents during a divorce. A professional evaluation can be very helpful in adding some objectivity to the process.

The specific recommendations that come from custody evaluation involve legal custody, which parent may become the primary residential parent, meaning where the children will live the majority of the time and the details of the visitation plan for the non-residential parent.

Parents can be awarded either joint legal custody or one of the parents will be awarded sole legal custody. In joint legal custody, both parents are involved in all the major decisions about the child or children’s lives. For example, what schools the child attends, whether the child is raised in some religion, and importantly, decisions related to ongoing and/or emergency medical care.

A sole custody arrangement means that only one of the parents has the legal right to make decisions about the significant issues facing the child’s life.

You can see how parents who are not able to communicate because of conflicts related to their marriage, become candidates for a sole custody arrangement. Even if both parents may be poor at communicating, it is likely that the parent who seems the most reasonable and psychologically competent may be given sole legal custody.

Where the children live is related to the residential custody question. This most often means that the child or children live with one parent most of the time, often in the marital residence. They then visit the non-custodial parent on some regular basis, usually sometime during the week and every other weekend.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply