Custody Evaluations

A custody evaluation is a very thorough examination of all family members for the purpose of making recommendations to the court about a parenting plan (also known as a custodial arrangement) that will be in the best interests of the children involved. The forensic examiner has a responsibility to 1) the children 2) the courts and 3) upholding the highest ethical and professional standards. Unless specified by a court order, a custody evaluation may or may not include a psychological evaluation. In general, a custody evaluation needs to consider the nature of the past and present relationships between the parents and children, the abilities of the parents to provide for their children physically, emotionally and financially as well as any deficits and/or impediments that might interfere with a parent’s ability to care for their children and/or maintain a healthy relationship with their children.

The scope of the custody evaluation can also vary. This is largely dependent on the wording of the court order.

A comprehensive custody evaluation may include the following elements:

  • detailed interviews of both parents and/or step parents/new partners
  • detailed interviews of children four year old and over
  • psychological testing of both parents and/or step parents/new partners utilizing multiple and corroborative measures
  • observation sessions between the children and each parent in a neutral setting and utilizing a unique stimulus challenge
  • visits at each parent’s residence with the children present
  • collateral interviews of individuals who have knowledge of the children and of the parents in their parenting capacity
  • a review of all of the relevant court documents and materials related to the case
  • if the children are school aged, a review of report cards and attendance records during the current and previous years
  • a criminal record check of parents, step parents or any other adult who is considered a party to the custody dispute
  • a review of driver’s record abstracts of parents, step parents or any other adult who is considered a party to the custody dispute

Our custody and placement programs are based on the “Gold Standards” of practice of the evaluation of the Parent-Child relationship using the scientific method and standardized, well researched, normed, and objective instruments such as the Strange Situation protocol, AAI interviews, Caregiving Interviews, Attachment Q-Sorts, and others. We provide in depth analysis using only evidence and research based tools for our evaluations. For example, did you know it would take over 1047 studies to refute the validity and reliability of the Adult Attachment Interview? Did you know that the reliability and validity of these measure well exceed the outcomes of the current studies for mediation? Finally, our evaluation is time limited and can be accomplished within 30 days (schedule allowing). Our programs are provided by top notch experts who are up to date on all current literature and practice. Contact us today or make a referral!

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