Tips on Preparing for a Georgia Custody Evaluation
When parents can’t agree on who should take care of the child after the divorce, a Judge will order, or the parties can consent to, a custody evaluation. The evaluation is done by a licensed psychologist and its purpose is to assist the Court in determining the best interests of the child pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3. The following are some tips to help you prepare for a custody evaluation in Georgia:
Do not coach your child on what to say to the evaluator. The evaluator will pick up on this very quickly and it will not assist with your case.
Be on time.
Be polite and dress neatly.
Be honest and open, and do not get offended if the evaluator asks questions. Stop and think about each question, and if you do not understand feel free to ask the evaluator to re-phrase the question or clarify.
Make sure to have a list of people that you want the evaluator to talk to with phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Keep in mind that the evaluator is looking for parenting skills like empathy, values, setting up boundaries and rules, your interactions with the child, and most importantly, your ability to co-parent.
Remember that your ex is also the mother or father of your child, and do not speak badly about them. You should keep in mind that you will have to work with this individual for the rest of your child’s life and that he or she is going to be involved with your child.
Do not involve your new spouse or new relationship in the evaluation to the extent possible. The evaluation should be about you and your child.
Do not make demands of the evaluator or expect immediate results. Evaluations can take a few months to complete so be patient and understanding.
If you have questions about a custody evaluation or about custody during a divorce, contact one of our Atlanta family law attorneys.
By Elizabeth Christen Doak, Associate Attorney, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC