Many misconceptions surround Maryland child custody evaluations. These misconceptions unnecessarily alarm many co-parents going through a custody establishment or custody modification proceeding. The truth is that a Maryland child custody evaluation can be very helpful to the court in contested custody proceedings. A Maryland child custody evaluation allows a neutral professional to gauge what arrangement serves the best interests of a child. The goal of a Maryland child custody evaluation is to help the family adjust to the changes from the separation and minimize the negative impact it has on the children. When parents cannot agree on custody, the court can appoint an evaluator who will conduct an investigation and provide a report with recommendations to the court.
Court evaluators have the professional, licensing, and training requirements to give valuable input in court. Although their recommendations hold weight, the final custody decision ultimately rests with the judge.
Knowing what to expect before you Maryland child custody evaluation can give you time to prepare and help you to efficiently navigate the process. Custody evaluators aren’t intended to influence either co-parent’s decisions or to “take the side” of either parent. The Maryland child custody evaluator should see matters from an impartial perspective and they will have the qualifications to make a recommendation meant to have the least negative impact on your child. An attorney can help guide you through the Maryland child custody evaluation process, so that you can focus on what matters most, being there for your family.
The Maryland Child Custody Evaluation Process in Montgomery County, Maryland and Prince George’s County, Maryland
Upon the request of either party, or of its own accord, the court will determine if a family will benefit from a custody evaluation.
Typically, a Maryland child custody evaluation is thorough, comprehensive, and will involve meeting with the parents, children, and other collateral witnesses that interact with the family.
During a custody evaluation, the evaluator will meet with each parent separately. The evaluator observes how each parent interacts with the child and how the children respond to the parents. Depending on the child’s age and maturity level, the evaluator may speak with the child alone.
The process also includes meeting with people who know the family, and anyone that could potentially help the evaluator to make a better decision. The assessment can involve asking in-depth questions to understand the family dynamic and the relationship between the child and their parents. Throughout the evaluation, you may want to talk to your children about what is happening to reduce their stress levels.
Contact a Family Attorney with Experience Handling Maryland Child Custody Evaluations
Your attorney can work with the evaluator to gather documents and information to build a case. Having a family law attorney that you trust is invaluable throughout the process for a better case outcome and greater peace of mind.
At the Law Offices of LaSheena M. Williams, our team can help guide you through your Maryland child custody evaluation with sound legal advice and counsel before and during the process. Our firm proficiently represents clients throughout Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Chevy Chase, College Park, Cheverly, Greenbelt, Oxon Hill, Hyattsville, Upper Marlboro, Largo, Bowie, and surrounding communities. Call us today at (301) 778-9950, or send us an online request for a consultation.