When you ask any given individual about what’s the hardest part about divorce, majority of time their answer is going to be “the children.” The children can only be at one place at one time. However, divorce can offer opportunities for a stronger commitment to the parent-child relationship. It is well worth the effort to handle this situation well because parent-child relationships transcend divorce. For most parents, children give their life meaning… Even during the hardships of a divorce. For children, the divorce experience helps them learn about relationships.
The first objective in the collaborative law process, we begin by clarifying each parent’s concerns around the children. The questions vary from: Do you want to protect the children from adverse consequences of the divorce as much as possible? What are your hopes for the children during and after the divorce? Do you hope to maintain stability for the children as your circumstances permit? Do you hope to maintain or improve your own relationship with the children? Do you want to protect the children’s financial security? Is it important that your children receive some positive messages about coping with life’s difficulties that will help their self-esteem and future relationships?
Skills of a Child Custody Evaluator
Professional evaluators are normally psychiatrists, psychologists or social workers. They have training and skills in various child custody issues, including family dynamics, child development and child abuse. An evaluator should also have the knowledge and understanding of the legal and cultural issues involved in custody arrangements.
The evaluator will use numerous methods to collect information. The evaluator has an obligation to maintain written records of the information. The evaluator will then write a report for the court. This report may contain:
- A custody and visitation recommendation
- Therapy suggestions
- Suggestions for parenting classes
- A parenting plan
- A reevaluation schedule
The court will use the report from the evaluator to help guide with its decision as how the child custody and visitation rights will be given. It’s in the judge’s discretion as to how much weight an evaluator’s report will be given. Judges, just like evaluators, are guided by their understanding of the best interests of the child.
If you are interested in talking to an attorney about a collaborative divorce, you can contact us online or call us at 1-855-805-0595.