July 20, 2022

What Is a Child Custody Evaluation and How Does It Work in Michigan?

Are you nervous about how your child custody dispute is going to play out? If so, now is the time to ensure that you’re as fully prepared as possible regardless of whether you’re going to be negotiating a resolution or litigating in hopes of achieving the outcome that you think is best for your child. One part of that preparation may be seeking out a child custody evaluation.

What is a child custody evaluation?

In short, a child custody evaluation is an assessment of the family dynamics so that a court can be well-informed as it makes its decision on what sort of custody and visitation arrangement is in the child’s best interests. These evaluations are conducted by a psychologist or a social worker who is appointed by the court and tasked with conducting a thorough investigation that culminates in a report containing recommendations.

What goes into a child custody evaluation?

These custody evaluations are comprehensive. They tend to include interviews with both parents and the child, and the evaluator is likely to review documents deemed necessary to the assessment, which may include educational and medical records. The evaluator might also observe parenting time and talk to friends and neighbors who can speak to your bond with your child and your parenting abilities.

Dealing with the outcome of an evaluation

Although the court gives a lot of weight to the recommendations made in a child custody evaluation, those recommendations aren’t binding. This means that there’s plenty of room to argue your position, regardless of the outcome of the evaluation.

With that said, you’ll need to be prepared to support your position and provide a persuasive argument as to why the recommendations should or should not be followed. An attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law can help you analyze the facts at hand and craft the legal strategy that you need to argue your position and fight to protect your child’s best interests.