IF THERE WEREN'T SO MANY CONTESTED CUSTODY CASES, THERE WOULD BE FEWER
CUSTODY EVALUATIONS GOING BAD
The reality is... the number of contested custody cases has steadily risen in most western countries since the mid 1980's.
The reason is that around this time
changes in the
divorce laws finally recognized that "joint custody" was a preferable legal and practical post divorce
arrangement for divorcing families when compared to traditional "sole custody". Until that time, sole custody almost always went to mothers
while the financial responsiblity of paying
children support almost always went to fathers. In these situations, specified access arrangements were rarely provided
to the noncustodial parent and as such, the ability to maintain a relationship with children
was often difficult.
The intent of the new divorce laws was to rectify this problem by placing the responsibility for caring for children
physically, emotionally and financial on both parents - not just one.
While the changes to the divorce laws
seemed to solve one set of problems, new and more challenging ones soon began to emerge. The idea that the
best interests of children would be served by having both parents in their lives which included the responsible for their care
was not embraced by all divorcing parents. The linch pin appeared to be the recognition that post divorce financial
support was no longer the domain of the noncustodial parent and was instead, to be a shared
responsibility. Suddenly, there were financial incentives for both mothers and fathers to find grounds for
why joint custody would not work. For mothers, the incentive was to hold onto child support while for fathers
it was not to pay it. So out of this dilemma, a whole new legal challenge emerged - the contested custody case!
Due to the increasing number of custody
cases being litigated, judges find making decisions about custody to be very challenging particularly
since they have
virtually no personal
knowledge of the family members involved. Moreover, apart from points of law and legal procedure,
judges are generally ill-equipped to make decisions about which of the two warring parents are best able to provide for
their children. Given these circumstances, the most logical solution seemed to have a professional who had expertise in the areas of child development,
family dynamics and psychopathology to evaluate the family members and then make recommendations to the court about custody and
Need More Information?
Everyone's concerns are unique. For that reason, Dr. Reena Sommer invites you to call her without obligation for a 15-minute consultation to receive some initial direction about your specific concerns. You can reach Dr. Sommer directly by calling her at 281.534.3923.
*FYI: We are not attorneys nor are we members of any bar in any state. We do not offer legal advice nor do
we present ourselves as doing so. However, we do help attorneys to better represent their
clients through our services as divorce strategists and divorce consultants.
The Courts' Reliance on Custody Evaluations
Custody evaluations play a very important role in custody determinations.
Court ordered custody evaluations have become common place when parents are unable or unwilling to resolve post divorce
parenting on their own or with the help of their attorneys. The custody evaluator's report which
includes recommendations for post divorce parenting carries significant weight in a judge's determination
of custody and access arrangements. Considering what
is at stake, it's absolutely essential that parents involved in contested custody cases, properly inform themselves
about what the custody evaluation process entails and how best to pursue it.
It's important for you to know that not all custody evaluations or the
evaluators who conduct them are created equally. Selecting the right
could mean the difference between a positive and negative outcome. PARENTS read more
- DIVORCE ATTORNEYS: It's important that
you know that just because a custody evaluator has been doing custody evaluations for a long time or he or she
seems to be a "favorite" of judges, doesn't
mean that he or she has the skills and
expertise to do them. Given this reality, it is important to learn how to determine if the custody evaluator being considered
for your cases has the proper
credentials and experience to conduct custody evaluations. ATTORNEYS read more
Information You Will Find on This Website
This website provides important
information about custody evaluations for parents and divorce attorneys. Naturally, it is to your advantage to make use
of this information when a custody evaluation is first being considered. Finding out how to prepare yourself for what the custody evaluation
process is all about
can make a huge difference in its outcome.
On the other hand, if you find yourself in the position of having to contend with an unfavorable
custody evaluation report, the information contained in this website can be of invaluable assistance to you as well.