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When Are Custody Evaluators Used in Texas? 

Posted on in Child Custody

austin child custody lawyerChild custody evaluations are ordered by Texas courts when parents are locked in a custody battle, and judges need to get impartial information regarding the best interests of a child. Although custody disputes generally take place during divorce proceedings, they can also happen any time a parent requests a modification in their custody arrangement. Unfortunately, custody evaluations can be long, expensive, and invasive proceedings, and if you are worried that a custody evaluator may be appointed to your case, it is important to understand how custody evaluations work. 

What is a Child Custody Evaluator? 

Custody evaluators are trained professionals who are often appointed by the court, although parents can hire private evaluators as well. Evaluators in Texas must have the appropriate education, supervised experience, and must work within a rigorous set of guidelines. 

Before a child custody evaluation begins, evaluators must provide their name, the purpose of the evaluation, specific issues to be investigated, and any additional elements of an investigation in addition to the basics that the evaluator will conduct. 

What Happens in a Custody Evaluation? 

Custody evaluations are very detailed, and evaluators will generally perform the following activities: 

  • Interviewing the parents

  • Interviewing any children whose custody is in dispute

  • Observation of and interviews with children who live in the household but whose custody is not in dispute including half siblings or step siblings

  • Obtaining school records, health records, criminal history records, and any other relevant documentation of the parents and children

  • Investigating each parent’s home and its suitability for the children in question

Once the evaluation is complete, evaluators are required to provide the court with a report detailing the findings of the investigation and the evaluator’s recommendation of an arrangement that would be in the child’s best interests. Although the custody evaluator does not make any decisions regarding the final custody arrangements, their opinions can carry significant weight in Texas courts. 

Because of the length, expense, and invasiveness of evaluations, it is common for parents to feel frustrated during the process. However, parents must remain cooperative and calm with evaluators, even when it feels unfair. A Texas attorney with experience in custody-related matters can help parents know what to expect and help them deal with the evaluator during a custody evaluation. 

Speak with an Austin, TX Child Custody Lawyer

If a custody evaluator has been ordered in your Texas child custody case, get the help of an experienced Travis County child custody attorney right away. At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, we will be proactively involved in your case and help your custody evaluation go as smoothly as possible. Our attorneys are detail-oriented, timely, and responsive. Call our offices today to schedule a consultation at 512-610-6199




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