Child Custody Evaluations

Oct 23, 2023 by Britton Evers

Child Custody Evaluations
When it comes to child custody cases, the well-being and best interest of the child will always be the priority. In Louisiana, child custody evauluations are a critical part of the legal process for determining custody arrangements for children of divoce or separation. Understanding the ins and outs of this process can help you navigate the legal complexities with confidence and clarilty. We'll discuss everything you need to know about child custody evauluations in Louisiana. 

A child custody evaluation is a comprehensive assessment conducted by a court- appointed evaluator or a mental health professional to determine the best custody arrangement for a child. The evaluator will assess the child's and parent's mental and physical health, family dynamics, and the child's living conditions. The ultimate goal of a custody evaluation is to provide the court with a detailed report with recommendations for a custody arrangement that is in the child's best interest. 
In Louisiana, a custody evaluation is conducted by a court- appointed evaluator who is either a mental health professional or a licensed clinical social worker. The evaluator must be licensed in Louisiana and have at least five years of experience working with children and families. In some cases,the court may also allow the appointment of an evaluator jointly selected by the parties involved. However, the cost in MOST cases will be shared equally between the parties.

A custody evaluation typically involves several meetings with the evaluator, the child, and each parent. The evaluation begins with an initial interview where the evaluator gathers information about the faimly and the child's needs. The evaluator may also request that each parent provides detailes of their daily routine, financial information, and housing conditions.  The evaluator may also interview other individuals who are involoved in the child's life, such as teachers, doctors, and family friends.  Additionally, the evaluator may require psychological testing, medical exams, or drug tests if necessary before submitting the final report to the court. 

To determine the custody arrangement that best serves the child's interest, the evaluator considers several factors such as the child's needs, the commitment of each parent to their child, the relationship between the child and each parent, the emotional and mental health of each parent, and the stability of each parent's home environment.  The evaluator also considers any history of domestic violence or abuse that may impact the child's well-being. 

To prepare for a custody evaluation, it is essential to be honest and transparent wit the evaluator. You must provide accurate and truthful information, and you should avoid bad-mouthing your ex-partner or making false accusations. You should also ensure that you seek the advice of your child support attorney and mental health professionals who can help you prepare for the evaluation and provide you with tips to present yourself and your child positively. 

Divorce and separation can be challenging for both parents and children. However, child custody evaluations in Louisiana exist to ensure that the child's well-being and best interests are at the forefront of the legal process. If you are going through such situations, it is important to have a clear understanding of what to expect and how to prepare. The Family Law Department at Rozas and Associates are here to assist you in deciding if a custody evaluation is right for your circumstances, and we can guide you through this process and the entirety of your family law case. 

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