Embarking on the path of child custody evaluations can be a bit daunting. As a parent, you want to ensure your children are well-prepared and at ease when they meet with the custody evaluator. In this focused article, we’ll provide essential tips and strategies to help your children approach these interviews with confidence. Join us for valuable insights on making this important step as smooth as possible for your little ones.
A Child Custody Evaluator’s Interaction With Your Children: An Overview
If your child custody or divorce case has a child custody evaluator assigned to it, then in nearly all circumstances, interviews will take place between the evaluator and your family, including your children.
This is an opportunity for the evaluator to learn more about the children’s impressions of what is going on with their lives so that the judge may become aware of the circumstances a little better. Ultimately, the judge is concerned with making decisions that are in the children’s best interests and not what is in your or your opposing party’s best interests.
At the outset of this blog post, a word of advice would be to avoid coaching your children to provide certain responses to questions to attempt to sway the evaluator. For one, the evaluator is an experienced interviewer and, as a result, is adept at keying in on a lie.
Secondly, children are not good at reciting stories or recalling information that you previously told them. They may be able to remember the three things you told them to say on a particular subject, but it is unlikely that he or she will be able to understand why he or she should say those things or even the order to say them. Ultimately your attempts to coach may backfire against you.
I advise clients to approach these interviews with their children like they would anything else in life. Be truthful, don’t be worried about what is being asked, and always remember that you and their other parent will always love them no matter what is said. That’s about it. Ideally, your child should be as free of anxiety as possible before one of these interviews, and confirm your love and put their fears to rest is a good way to start.
Custody Evaluators Typically Avoid Outcome-Determinative Questions with Children
It’s important to note that custody evaluators usually do not ask children directly about their preferred living arrangements. This approach stems from my experience in the field.
Children, like adults, have opinions and feelings about their preferred living situation. Their age and life experiences often shape these preferences. For younger children, these opinions might fluctuate frequently, sometimes influenced by simple factors like which parent treated them to McDonald’s most recently.
Evaluators often discern a child’s feelings towards a parent through indirect methods. For instance, if an evaluator asks a child to draw their family and the child depicts a parent distanced from the rest, this can be quite revealing.
As a parent, there isn’t much specific preparation you can do for this aspect of the evaluation. The best strategy is to help your children feel as comfortable as possible. Ensuring their comfort is key when preparing them for an interview in these situations.
Ensuring That the Evaluator Has All the Information He/She Needs to Conduct Interviews
In the whirlwind of divorce proceedings, it’s easy to overlook the critical step of providing comprehensive information to the child custody evaluator. Amidst legal complexities and ongoing family responsibilities, this task is crucial for a thorough and fair evaluation.
Key Responsibilities: Facilitating Evaluator’s Understanding
Your role in supplying detailed information is paramount. Just as your attorney emphasized at the onset, your cooperation in sharing relevant details with the evaluator is essential. The aim is to paint a complete picture of your family dynamics for an informed assessment.
Time Constraints and Depth of Interviews
Recognize the evaluator’s limited time for in-depth interviews. The documentation you provide should offer a deep dive into your family’s background, covering every aspect of your and your children’s lives
Detailing Children’s Lives: Personalities, Routines, and Involvement
Expect to describe your children’s personalities, habits, academic performance, and interests. Details about their daily routines, who manages school pickups, homework, and attends their extracurricular activities are vital. This information helps the evaluator understand the involvement level of each parent in these areas.
Addressing Sensitive Topics: Honesty is Key
Prepare to answer delicate questions about any legal issues or addictions. These are standard queries aimed at ensuring child safety and welfare. Being forthright is crucial, as concealment can lead to more severe repercussions than admitting to past challenges.
By thoroughly preparing and providing detailed information to the child custody evaluator, you play a critical role in ensuring a fair and comprehensive assessment, ultimately supporting the best interests of your children during this challenging transition.
Child Custody Evaluations Are Not Easy- Finding Strong Representation Can Be
Choosing to hire the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, to represent you in a divorce or child custody case can simplify, streamline, and create peace of mind in your life. While no family law case is easy for you or your family, our office strives to provide the sort of advocacy that allows our clients to achieve their goals.
For a free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys, please do not hesitate to contact our office today. We represent clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and your family.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “Child Custody E-Book”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Child Custody Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding child custody, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX child custody lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our child custody lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles child custody cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.