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Don't Ruin Your Custody Chances By Making These Moves

When child custody is in contention, emotions can run high. Without a doubt, child custody issues can throw a divorce agreement into a state of chaos in no time at all. Family court judges often depend on a child study to help them make a custody decision. If a child custody evaluation is in your near future, the way you conduct yourself is everything. Read on so that you don't ruin your child custody chances when a child study is scheduled.

Avoid Making These Moves During a Child Custody Evaluation

  1. Don't be negative. Many parents are resentful of custody evaluations and don't agree with the judge's order. Unfortunately, if you want custody you have no choice. Don't be negative when you interact with the evaluator, even if you dislike putting your child through it, it could color their opinion of you. That also means being respectful, punctual, and cooperative with the arrangements.
  2. Don't forget what is at stake. When decisions are made by a family court, they are always made with the best interest of the child in mind. That means that what you want, as a parent, pales in comparison with what is best for the child. Be sure you think about things in terms of what is best for your child – that attitude will resonate with the evaluator.
  3. Don't neglect to have some input. In many cases, the parties and their attorneys have some input into the referral. That means the expert performing the evaluation will receive a summary of concerns about the welfare of the child prior to the evaluation. To help make sure your concerns are known, provide your divorce lawyer with a list. For example, if you disagree with your spouse's use of physical discipline, add that to the list.
  4. Don't coach your child. If you do, it will be obvious to an expert experienced in interviewing children about custody matters. Do prepare your child using age-appropriate language and keep your attitude about the evaluation low-key and casual. The last thing you want is to foster anxiety in your child.
  5. Don't denigrate your spouse. Whenever you speak about your spouse, use neutral language and be tactful. That doesn't mean you should not let the evaluator know negative things about your spouse, just be careful to focus on how their actions affect the child rather than you.

Talk to your divorce lawyer to get more information about child custody evaluations and how to put your best foot forward.