It’s not about you or any difficulties you may have had with the other parent. You need to remember that your children will also be going through a very difficult time. Temporary child custody orders, also known as “Pendente Lite Orders,” often have a significant impact on final or permanent custody orders. Should the parties not be able to reach an agreement for temporary custody, consider filing an “Order to Show Cause for Temporary Custody” and attend the mandatory court-ordered mediation. At mediation, you will be able to discuss the parenting schedule that you feel will be in the best interests of your child.
The Law Offices of Edward Misleh, APC is a Sacramento law firm, located in Sacramento, California that practices family law and represents clients in Sacramento, California and clients in Northern California with services they need and deserve when filing for divorce. Call now our Lawyer Hotline. We offer a free consultation to all new clients. Call now 916-443-1267 for your free consultation.
California Child Custody Evaluations
A child custody evaluation, also known as a “730 Evaluation,” may be court-ordered and is used to determine the mental health of a child or the parenting practices of one or both parents. Additionally, either party in a Dissolution case may request a child custody evaluation by agreement and with the filing of a “Stipulation.” Custody and visitation orders are often based on the findings of a child custody evaluation.
A child custody evaluation should be considered if your child is mature and has expressed their desires as to which parent they wish to primarily reside, or should there be a concern that one parent cannot provide a stable or safe living situation for a child. A parent’s parental rights may be affected for any of the following reasons:
- Criminal convictions.
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Child abuse.
- Mental health problems.
- Relocation by one parent.
- Parenting practices that may negatively impact a child.
A child custody evaluation can be conducted by any of the following qualified mental health professionals:
- Qualified social workers
- Marriage and Family Therapists.
California Evidence Code § 730 provides that a court can appoint a mental health professional to conduct a child custody evaluation or psychological evaluation.
California Family Code § 3111 provides that an evaluator may be appointed in any contested custody or visitation proceeding where the court determines it is the best interests of the child.
Family Code § 3118 requires a child custody evaluation in any contested proceeding in which the court has appointed a custody evaluator and the court determines that there is a serious allegation of child sexual abuse. An child custody evaluation is generally required where one parent wishes to relocate with the children. Whatever the type of evaluation, your attorney will play a vital role in not only choosing an evaluator but also in presenting the issues to the evaluator.
When the child custody evaluation is initiated, all parties will have to sign forms to release information so that the evaluator can have access to school, medical, and mental health records of the parties and children. The parties will each have to complete an extensive intake questionnaire, which requests information as to family history, the parents’ perceptions and concerns, and the parenting plan desired. Your attorney will play an active role in presenting an appropriate parenting plan and in framing and prioritizing the relevant issues and facts for the evaluator. At a minimum, counsel should provide the evaluator with copies of all relevant pleadings, and a letter framing the client’s concerns and briefly summarizing the relevant facts.
At times, it may be useful to retain a mental health professional to evaluate a parent. For example, if it is alleged that the client suffers from psychopathology, a private evaluation may address that issue and provide input to the court-appointed evaluator.
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