Knowing what needs to be done to get ready for your Texas social study is important. In this second part of a 7 part blog on learn what you need to do in Getting ready for your Texas social study.

Who Conducts the Child Custody Evaluation and What Training is the Evaluator Required to Have?

Child custody evaluators are required to have a minimum of a master’s degree in a mental health field that includes formal education and training in child development, child and adult psychopathology, interviewing techniques and family systems. In addition, evaluators are required to possess advanced knowledge of the complexities of the divorce process, working knowledge of the legal issues in divorce or separation, and knowledge of the sources of evaluator bias and methods for maintaining neutrality. Finally, the evaluator is required to have an understanding of the many issues, legal, social familial and cultural, involved in custody and access cases.

Are There Different Types of Child Custody Evaluations?

Yes. The child custody evaluation may come in the form of a social study or a psychological evaluation. A social study will not include psychological testing. A child custody evaluation conducted by a psychologist, however, typically includes psychological testing of you, your spouse, and perhaps your children. Psychological testing may be warranted by the circumstances of your case. For example, psychological testing may be warranted when there are allegations of abuse and neglect of the parties or the children. Also, if the mental health of a party or child is at issue or there are allegations of substance abuse, then psychological testing may be appropriate.

Who Determines Whether a Social Study or a Psychological Evaluation is Appropriate for my Case?

The request for a child custody evaluation may originate with the Court, one of the parties, or an attorney representing a party in a proceeding. The Judge will typically permit the attorneys and parties to agree as to whether the child custody evaluation takes the form of just a social study or whether a psychological evaluation is needed in their case. Also, if the evaluator performing the social study believes that psychological testing is needed to complete the child custody evaluation, he/she makes this request of the attorneys or Court.