Often times, a couple will hire an independent third party to prepare and conduct a custody evaluation that will be presented to the Court to help determine who should be awarded primary residential responsibility of minor child(ren). Although this can be an effective tool to assist you in showing that you or your client is the person best suited to be primary residential parent, its important to properly prepare for this evaluation. Here are some tips to help you insure that you or your client puts their best foot forward in a custody evaluation.
1. Always be truthful and honest. A custody evaluator will be able to tell if you aren't being truthful and when you offer up information that is false, if the truth later comes out, this will only hurt you.
2. Be cooperative with the Evaluator. The Evaluator is often seen as the enemy, but they are there to help make a determination as to what is best for your child(ren) and being cooperative shows that you have your child's best interests at heart.
3. Prepare your home prior to any home visits. Before an Evaluator comes to your home, make sure it is free from any safety issues, is clean and make sure to have fresh healthy foods in your refrigerator and pantry. Evaluators want to see that the home environment that you can provide is healthy and safe for the child(ren).
4. Don't prep your child or tell them what to say or talk about with the Evaluator. One of the red flags that comes up during an evaluation is if the Evaluator can tell that a child has been coached as to what to say and what not to say. Explain to the children that there is someone coming over to speak with them about their home, their thoughts about the divorce and feelings for their parents and they should feel free to be open and honest with that person. Coaching is definitely not a good thing and any good Evaluator will read right through a coached child.
5. Be appropriately dressed and well groomed. This goes without saying, but still a good tip to remember.
If you would like to read more about how to prepare yourself for a custody evaluation, visit: http://www.foxvalleylawyers.net/images/PREPARING_FOR_YOUR_CUSTODY_EVAL.pdf