Child custody disputes can be hotly contested. Although some people are able to negotiate a resolution in these matters, others simply can’t. When the latter occurs, the issue is left in the hands of a judge. While that might give you some comfort, it should also give you some pause because these judges don’t know your family. They can only assess you as a parent based on the evidence presented.
Fortunately, judges often recognize the limitations placed on them in these situations. This is why Colorado law allows the court to order, and the parties to request, an assessment of the family to be conducted by a social worker or a mental health professional. The goal of the evaluation is to provide the court with a written report that makes recommendations as to how parental responsibilities should be allocated.
A lot goes into these assessments. The evaluator is allowed to speak with the child and anyone else who may have knowledge of the child, and he or she can gain access to medical, educational, and mental health records of the child even absent parental consent. The evaluator can even have the child subjected to additional testing that he or she sees as relevant to the custody issue that is before the court.
At its heart, the child custody evaluation seeks to shed light on your ability to parent your child and further his or her best interests. The same holds true for your child’s other parent. So you need to be prepared to present yourself in the best light possible. Even if you disagree with the outcome of the evaluation, you can challenge it to try to diminish its impact on the judge’s decision. In order to make the best out of an evaluation, though, you need to know the law and how to craft legal arguments that are persuasive in light of the facts at hand. An attorney who is experienced in this area of the law can help you develop the legal strategy you need to best protect your child’s best interests.