When Custody Is In Question: Do's And Don'ts

Posted on: 20 September 2017

Parents that are able to agree on what is best for their minor children usually end up spending a lot less time litigating the issue in court. If you and your spouse are in disagreement over who will make the best custodial parent, however, you may face some additional scrutiny. Family court judges may order that a child-parent study be done to help determine custody, and they often use specially-trained experts to help them decide. Read on for some points to keep in mind if you are undergoing a custody evaluation.


1. Child custody evaluation experts understand that no parent is 100% perfect all the time, and any efforts on your part to pretend to be perfect will only make that evaluator suspicious. Instead, do some thinking about parenting skills that you want to improve, and let the expert know that you are aware of issues and what you are doing to correct those issues. You'll get points for honesty and being self-aware, both prime parenting behaviors. For example, if you are working on using better disciplinary techniques, let the expert know about it.

2. Make it known that you want the child to have a close relationship with the other parent, regardless of who is awarded custody. If custody is being evaluated at all, then it is very likely that both parents are considered suitable. Judges are more likely to favor a parent who wants the child to be parented by both parents, regardless of the divorce.

3. Emphasize the best interest of the child. Understanding what's best for your child and acknowledging that will put you in lockstep with the family court judge. For example, if the other parent has access to better recreational opportunities for the child, make it known that you want the child to spend a lot of time at the other parent's home because of that.


1. Resist the urge to badmouth your spouse; this is not the time to vent your feelings about any wrongdoing on their part. Be fair and tactful when discussing your spouse's parenting problems and their attributes.

2. While it's okay to tell your children about the evaluation using age-appropriate information, do not attempt to coach them. Experienced evaluation experts can spot a coached child and it will only make you appear to be hiding something or that you are over-controlling as a parent.

3. Never use the evaluation as a opportunity to get parenting advice, but graciously accept any advice proffered.

4. If you feel that the expert is showing an unfair bias, contact your attorney immediately.

Speak to a divorce attorney, such as from Van Gilder & Trzynka PC, for more information about these important child custody evaluations.