Divorce attorneys represent all kinds of parents seeking a divorce. Some parents make easy clients while other parents may be unreasonable and vindictive. Still others may be challenged by issues related to addictions, mental illness or less than optimal lifestyle choices. Regardless of whether an attorney has the most ideal parent as a client or one that is less than ideal, that parent still needs to be represented well. When it comes to custody evaluations, the less than optimal parent is probably at a serious disadvantage. In these cases, it may be wiser to first explore alternative approaches to resolving the custody dispute. Some of these options are: mediation, supervised visitation and/or a graduated access arrangement rather than going the custody evaluation route.

On the other hand, there will be times when a custody evaluation is not an option. At this point, the best course of action is ensuring that order for the custody evaluation is worded in such a way that it will examine the issues that have the best chance of identifying the client's positive qualities. This can be done by including specific referral questions in the court order for the custody evaluation. While the use of referral questions is not widely used or well known, they can be extremely effective in guiding the direction and focus of a custody evaluation. Too often, open-ended orders for custody evaluations (e.g., those that read: "to determine the best interests of the children") leave the scope of the evaluation completely at the discretion of the custody evaluator. When this happens, there is a risk that the issues a parent is most concerned about may not even be addressed. By having referral questions included in the order, the custody evaluator is then required to answer and/or address them. An example of a typical referral question is: "How likely is it that either parent will support his or her child's relationship with the other parent?" It is not uncommon for an order for a custody evaluation to include 5-10 referral questions or more.

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.

Dr. Reena Sommer & Associates PLLC
Houston, Texas
PHONE: 281.534.3923