Family Court Mandatory Evaluations

In some cases you’re going to be required to undergo a parental evaluation. What does this mean? It means that somebody is going to be asking you questions and looking in your windows in regards to your lifestyle and ability to provide a good environment for your kids. You might be required to do this at the beginning of your case or if this is a second court case and the judgment needs to be modified. There can be a lot of anxiety about someone examining your life.  Before we break some emotional ground, take a minute to look at your surroundings and get an idea of what this process is going to entail. Ask questions.

  • Who is doing the evaluating?Most likely this will be done by a qualified professional such as a psychologist.
  • What family members are being evaluated? Sometimes just the parent, and potentially that parent’s spouse or partner, if they are in the immediate household, will be met with on a one on one basis or with the children present.
  • Where is the evaluation going to be taking place? It makes a difference if someone is coming to your house or if you’re going to their office, plus it’s just a good idea to get a lay of the land.

Their Word Against Yours. Some States vary on the subject of the child’s opinion on the matter. Some States treat the child’s opinion, depending on age, as the key factor in making the overall judgment. Other States either rule it out all together in the decision making process or make it a small piece of the puzzle. It’s important to educate yourself on State and County legislation or consult with a legal professional in your area to find out the details.

The person doing the evaluating is going to be looking at such things as your relation to drugs and/or alcohol. This is self explanatory. Your home life is going to be important. A child having their own room, how many people live in the house, how far the house is from town, school or other parent; these are all factors for them to come to a conclusion. Your social affiliations such as churches or clubs can come under scrutiny as well.  Sometimes the focus is more on home stability rather than moral framework but both are equally important. It’s important for children to have help with homework, good house hold communication and family time together. As a parent, you’re lives are intertwined. It can be difficult on an emotional level to have someone put you under a microscope.  From time to time, however, it’s good to make sure everything is running smoothly.

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Posted in Courtroom Preparation, Family Court

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