Custody Evaluations: What You Should Know
When You Can’t Come to a Decision on Custody of the Kids
Custody of the children can be one of the most divisive issues in any divorce. If you and your co-parent are unable to agree on arrangements for child custody in Minnesota, you may be subject to a custody evaluation.
At Dwire Law Offices, P.A., in Lakeville, we try to help you reach a solution regarding your children before taking this step. We know how much your family means to you. While we prefer to find agreement between you and your co-parent, if a custody evaluation is required to determine custody of your children, our lawyer will guide you through the process and help you understand what is happening and how to work with the evaluators.
What Is a Custody Evaluation?
In Minnesota, a custody evaluation is a court-ordered investigation of each parent’s suitability to have custody of his or her children. It is conducted by a professional evaluator who will file a report with the court. The judge will use the information in the report to make the final decision.
There is a risk involved whenever you hand over decision-making authority to a judge in your divorce. However, having a neutral party make child custody recommendations in the best interest of your children will give the judge a more educated basis to make a decision than he or she may have without the evaluation.
What to Expect in a Custody Evaluation
- An evaluation can be expensive and may add between three and six months to your divorce process, from the time you decide to have the evaluation to the time the evaluator’s report is filed with the courts.
- It is important to be respectful of the evaluator, especially regarding what you see and hear from him or her, even if you don’t agree with his or her decisions or things you are being asked to do.
- The evaluator will talk to a lot of people during the evaluation, including friends, family, teachers and other individuals within your general circle of influence. The evaluator can contact anyone with relevant information. You need to be aware that these people will know what’s going on.
- The evaluator’s report is not a final decision, but can influence the judge as he or she assigns custody in your case.