Getting ready for your Texas social study is important to start early.  In this first part of a 7 part blog on learn what you need to do in Getting ready for your Texas social study.

What is a Child Custody Evaluation?

The child custody evaluation is a tool used by the Court to investigate the circumstances of all parties and the children when the parties are unable to agree to the conservatorship and/or the possession and access to the children. The evaluator will investigate and provide information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each parent, the level of interparental conflict, parent-child relationships, and the children’s developmental, social emotional and educational needs. The evaluation considers past events, present resources and future needs of the family. If appropriate, the Court may order that psychological testing be performed as part of the child custody evaluation. At the conclusion of this investigation, the evaluator will prepare a report that contains his/her findings and recommendations regarding conservatorship, access and possession and any other disputed issues regarding the children. This report will be submitted to the Court and each attorney. The attorneys will use the results of the report in the settlement process. If your case proceeds to trial, the report may be introduced into evidence for the Court to consider in making it rulings on the issues related to the children.

What is the Role of the Evaluator?

The role of the evaluator is as a professional expert to assist the Court by conducting an impartial evaluation and submitting a report that makes recommendations regarding custody and possession and access of your children. The evaluator does not act as a judge. The judge still makes the ultimate decision applying the law to all relevant evidence. Neither does the evaluator act as an advocating attorney. The evaluator remains neutral and will not determine who is at fault or blame for your divorce. The evaluator, in a balanced, impartial manner, informs and advises the Court and the prospective parties of the relevant psychological factors pertaining to the custody, possession and access issues.

What is the Scope of the Child Custody Evaluation?

The scope of evaluation is determined by the nature of the question or issues raised by either the parties or the Court. Comprehensive child custody evaluations generally require an evaluation of all parties and children involved in the lawsuit. The scope of the assessment in a particular case, however, may be limited to evaluating the parental capacity of one parent without attempting to compare the parents or to make recommendations. Likewise, the scope may be limited to evaluating the child.