Can Child Custody Evaluations Be Used Against Me?
You or your spouse may have to go through a child custody evaluation if family court suspects abuse, domestic violence, or neglect. These evaluations are also used to help figure out whether a parent is fit to raise the child. This means you may still have to go through this evaluation even if you have been a good parent. The important thing to know is how these evaluations can be used against you and what is at stake. To find out more about your rights, contact an Oklahoma Divorce Lawyer today.
What to Expect from a Child Custody Evaluation
A child custody evaluation is conducted by a trained psychologist or forensic counselor who has completed specialized training in child custody evaluations. Mental health professionals who lack competence, credentials, and training in this area are not allowed to give these types of evaluations. You will likely be brought into a private room where you be asked various open-ended and closed-ended questions.
The motive of the evaluator is to examine your historical and current behaviors or thoughts to determine whether you are fit to raise a child. This can apply for almost any scenario, including sole and joint child custody requests. Question types will depend on the reason for the evaluation. Different focus areas of child custody evaluations include:
- Assessment of future dangerousness
- Mental status or competence to raise a child
- General assessment to screen for maladaptive parenting behaviors
The evaluator must obtain informed consent from you. This means you must be told that you have the right to not answer questions and you can leave at any time. Not telling you this and conducting the evaluation anyways could grant you the right to have the evaluation deemed inadmissible in court.
A child custody evaluator must also use more than one source of information. Common sources involve standardized psychological tests, interview questions, talking to others who know you, and documentation of your history.
How Child Custody Evaluations Can Hurt You
Depending on the purpose of the child custody evaluation, the results may hurt or help you. Some people come out of the evaluation with results that show no signs of bad parenting or dangerousness. This can significantly help your case if your spouse has made false allegations against you.
Child custody evaluation negative effects include not being able to see your child anymore, being denied the child custody you requested, or being forced to endure supervised visitation. One thing that may help when you find yourself stuck in a tricky situation is to consult with a family lawyer before you do the evaluation. A lawyer can prepare you for the evaluation so you are not surprised by the process or the questions.
Divorce Attorney in Oklahoma
Feeling nervous about a child custody evaluation is normal considering how the evaluation can affect your relationship with your child. Feel free to talk with an Oklahoma Family Attorney if you have questions or concerns about this process. You can call the Putnam Law Office today at (405)-849-9149 for a consultation. Mr. Putnam is an Oklahoma City attorney who is dedicated to his clients.