How to Prepare for a Child Custody Evaluation
When you are going through a divorce, the prospect of having to set up a child custody arrangement can seem daunting. You might worry about an outside evaluator meeting with you to ask you questions about your home, your lifestyle, and your relationship with your child, then deciding where your child should live. This is a very simplified view of the child custody evaluation process and in most cases, you will have plenty of opportunity to provide a detailed account of your parenting style and work with your former spouse and the evaluator to develop a custody arrangement that meets your child’s needs.
The key to a positive, successful custody evaluation is your willingness to work with the court and your former spouse to build a custody arrangement. Once the evaluator, a neutral third-party assigned to your case by the court, meets with you, your spouse, and your children and conducts the necessary interviews, he or she writes a report with a suggested child custody arrangement for your family and submits it to the court for approval.
Child custody evaluations are discussed in section 604.5 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
During the custody evaluation, do:
- Arrive on time to all of your appointments with the evaluator. Show that you care about the process and take it seriously.
- Be accessible and friendly with the custody evaluator without becoming too informal. Maintain eye contact and answer all of his or her questions completely.
- Discuss your concerns with the evaluator. You might have questions for him or her regarding your child’s custody.
- Be honest. The evaluator will likely check your answers against other sources to verify them. Create an accurate depiction of your home life and, if asked, admit the areas where you know you can improve your parenting. You might also have to undergo psychological testing. If this is the case, it is crucial that you complete the testing honestly and cooperatively.
- Insult your former spouse. There is nothing for you to gain by attempting to make him or her appear to be a poor parent.
- Attempt to manipulate your child’s interviews to depict you as the better parent. This is unfair to both your spouse and your child.
- Discuss your issues with your spouse with the evaluator. The custody evaluation is about your children, not your problems with your spouse.
It is natural to be worried and even nervous about your upcoming child custody evaluation. Talk to your attorney about your concerns before the evaluation. He or she can give you valuable insight and advice to help you prepare yourself for your interviews.
Family Attorneys in DuPage County
Our team of compassionate Wheaton family law attorneys at Abear Law Offices advocates for Illinois families just like yours. If you are currently going through a divorce or considering filing for divorce in the near future, call our firm at 630-904-3303 to discuss your case with one of our team’s experienced divorce attorneys.