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What is a Custody Evaluation?
When parents continue to disagree about custody after mediation or other attempts to resolve their issues outside of court, the court may order a custody evaluation. A custody evaluator is generally a psychologist who evaluates the child and family members.  Based on the evaluation, the evaluator recommends a visitation or parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests.  At this point, parents still have the option to reach a settlement about child custody issues and can even use the custody evaluation as a basis for negotiating a settlement.  Or, if the couple cannot reach a settlement, the judge takes the evaluation into consideration when rendering a decision.
What custody evaluation involves
According to an article published by the American Bar Association on Child Custody Evaluation, parties subject to the custody evaluation may include all adults directly responsible for the child’s daily care:
  • Parents
  • Stepparents
  • Grandparents
  • Significant others
  • Step or half-siblings
  • Daycare providers
The evaluator may also obtain information from medical professionals, psychotherapists, and school personnel when reviewing the case. Criteria routinely used in evaluating the case include:
  • Life history
  • Psychological testing
  • Academic achievement
  • Objective personality tests
  • Projective personality tests
  • Parenting assessment tests
  • Interviews

If custody evaluation seems likely, by using the services and expertise of a Texas divorce lawyer, a parent may have a choice in selecting a custody evaluator, if the court provides such options.  An attorney can help with preparation for the evaluation and preparing you for your meeting with the evaluator.  Contact a Texas divorce law firm to get questions answered and discuss more about custody evaluation.

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Robert Reid McInvale
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Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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