"Divorce doesn't have to ruin kids. When parents behave, children can thrive."
Child Custody Evaluations:
Psychological evaluations for child custody
In divorces where parties cannot agree between themselves as to what arrangements are in the best interests of the minor child/children with respect to primary residence and contact arrangements, the matter is referred out to a neutral, skilled third party professional such as myself. I will then conduct an assessment of all parties concerned and make recommendations as to what is best for the child/children concerned with regards to custody arrangements between the parties.
Child custody: Evaluation process
I am contacted either by a legal representative of either or both parties, the parties themselves or a body such as the Family Advocate’s Office to conduct a psychological evaluation for child custody
Each party is contacted to obtain their consent to participate in the psychological evaluation for child custody as well as for the minor child/children to be assessed
A contract is then agreed to between each party and myself outlining the procedures to be used as well as payment and other arrangements
Each party undergoes a standardised evaluation that includes interviews, psychometrics and observations with the minor child/children
The child/children is assessed using developmentally appropriate and relevant psychometric tests as well as interviews and observations
Collateral sources are consulted and home visits are conducted
All relevant legal and other documentation is reviewed
A report is then provided to the parties with the recommendations enclosed therein
Child custody psychological evaluation questions:
How long does such a psychological evaluation for child custody take?
6-8 weeks generally with allowances for delays due to availability of any of the parties
Does the party that pays get favourable treatment?
Not at all. Should one party decide to cover the costs of the psychological evaluation for child custody, it does not mean that they get favourable treatment. My role is to be an objective and impartial evaluator in this process, giving both parties fair and equitable treatment. If there is any personal relationship between me and any of the parties involved or their immediate family, I am obligated to remove myself from the evaluation and refer to another suitable professional.
Who is the focus of the evaluation?
Ultimately it is the needs and best interests of the child/children as encompassed in the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 that are the focus of the psychological evaluation for child custody. The child/children are the focus and recommendations centre around what is best for them according to their developmental stage, relationships and life circumstances.
Is your report legally binding?
In and of itself, the recommendations encompassed in the report can only be legally compelling if the report is made an Order of the Court. You will need to consult with your lawyer to facilitate this.