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Child Custody Evaluations (730 & 3110)

If you need a child custody evaluation, you need someone with experience and someone who cares. Our goal is to give your child a voice and make sure their needs are not overlooked during these difficult times.

Click topics covered under the FAQ section below to find out more about child custody evaluations and how I can assist you.

Child Custody Evaluations
Looking Out For The Children

Download Child Custody Form



What is a child custody evaluation?
How much does a child custody evaluation cost?
What issues does a child custody evaluator assess?


What is a Child Custody Evaluation?

A child custody evaluation is an evaluation that considers the psychological factors affecting the best interests of the child by focusing on the parenting capacity along with the psychological and developmental needs of each involved child. This includes (1) an assessment of parenting capacities including knowledge, attributes, skills and abilities that are present (2) an assessment of the psychological function and developmental needs of the child and the child's wishes and (3) an assessment of the ability of each parent to meet those needs, including an evaluation of the adult/child interaction, the parenting values, ability to plan for the child's future needs, ability to provide a stable and loving home environment and potential for misconduct that may negatively influence the child are considered. A child custody evaluator places the child's best interest as the primary focus of the evaluation given all of the factors presented to a child custody evaluator. A child custody evaluation is not necessarily for the benefit of the parents. It is an examination which assesses a child's needs given the child's age and developmental needs. A child custody evaluator will typically evaluate all important parties who will be a part of the child's life. Often parents and all of the children being considered in the evaluation process are assessed on multiple levels. Both parents are likely to be evaluated individually and each one separately with the child present.The child will likely be assessed individually and observed with each parent. If there are grandparents living in the home or if a parent has a significant other such as a live in girlfriend/boyfriend or a new spouse, those individuals may be asked to participate in the evaluation process as well. Both parents should be given an equivalent evaluation. For example, if a child custody evaluator spent 5 hours evaluating one parent, they should not spend 30 minutes evaluating the other parent. This type of evaluation could be considered unfair and biased.

Child custody evaluators will review almost any important document relating to the child. The evaluator will often ask for important documents such as school, medical or counseling records and, if applicable, any Child Protective Services records. Interviews with teachers or other caregivers may be initiated in order to gather more information. Additionally, a home visit may be initiated if the home environment is an issue or a more detailed observation needs to take place between the child and parent.

Psychological and Forensic Testing may be given to both parents and to the child to assist in gathering additional information. Testing information may assist in guiding a child custody evaluator's hypothesis about the functioning between the child and parent.

The psychologist's role, then, is to inform and advise the court and the parents of the relevant psychological factors pertaining to the child custody issues.

How much does a child custody evaluation cost?

The price for a child custody evaluation through this office may cost anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000. The costs are usually split between parents. Many child custody evaluators require a deposit before beginning services and require that payment is paid in full prior to the dissemination of the report. If, for example, the cost for a child custody evaluation was $7,000 your half would likely be $3,500 and an initial payment of $1,750 would be needed to commence services and the remaining balance would be due at the time the report is finished. Child custody evaluators provide a lot of time, effort and expertise to ensure that a decision that is in your child's best interest is made.


What kinds of issues does a child custody evaluator assess?

There are many issues a child custody evaluator encounters. An important issue is making sure the child's voice is heard and that the parents' needs do not override the child's needs. Also, an attorney may need more information to determine if and what parental deficits are indicated or what parenting strengths each parent brings to the child.

Other more serious issues may include domestic violence issues where violence was an issue during the parent's marriage. This is an important issue because witnessing violence in the home can have lasting devastating effects on the child. Witnessing domestic violence may instill fear in the child and the child may not feel open in discussing their fears to either parent. Child custody evaluators need to assist in sorting out facts from fiction and ensure that the child has a safe place where he/she is able to give reliable information to what they witnessed in the home. Also, helping the child express any fears that they may not have verbalized to others is important.

Parental alienation is another issue that the child custody evaluator may want to assess. Alienation is a process where a parent consciously or unconsciously by his/her words, actions or inactions, or negative feelings influence the child in such a way that the child begins to take on that parent's beliefs and feelings. This process may evoke negative feelings towards the other parent that they may not have had before their parents separated. Child custody evaluators need to sort out this sometimes complicated issue and give recommendations to the court on ways to ameliorate it.

Allegations of sexual abuse need to be taken seriously. A full evaluation and a skillful interview with the child needs to take place when offering an opinion regarding alleged sexual abuse. A full evaluation often consists of reviewing collateral information such as medical records and police reports. Skillfully interviewing the child and both parents needs to be completed. A skillful interviewer will not lead a child and often will look for inconsistency from what the child says compared to observations of the child and other information received. Recommendations will be given to the courts on the likelihood in which such an act may have taken place and recommendations on treatment and placement of the child will be given.

A Move-Away evaluation is an assessment of a child's needs when one parent decides to move a long distance from the other parent and wants to take the child with them. Often, move-away cases are among the most difficult and emotionally sensitive because finding a middle ground where the child is able to maintain contact with both parents is difficult and the potential risks for a child is high. A child custody evaluator needs to take into consideration the child's age, whether there are siblings and how moving the child will affect their education and friendships.


Would you like to be Contacted for a consultation and estimate?

(530) 751-1122  

Yuba City Office:   1445 Butte House Rd., Suite F, Yuba City, CA  95993