Talking to Custody Evaluators: Common Mistakes

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2024 | Child Custody

Child custody arrangements can sometimes prove problematic after a divorce. It might reach the point where your child refuses or resists seeing one parent. In this case a court or one of the parents may call in a particular type of mental health worker, known as a custody evaluator, to assess the situation. Their job is to work out why the child is refusing. Is it for a valid reason or is it down to manipulation by the other parent?

If you are the one the child does not want to see, then it is important to know that you are at an immediate disadvantage. While the evaluator is supposed to take a fair and impartial look, they often struggle to do so.

There’s no smoke without fire

Many people believe that an allegation must have some substance to it, otherwise it would not have cropped up in the first place. Maybe they don’t believe the majority of what the other parent has told them about you, but, they still assume you must have done something wrong for your child to be refusing to see you. Rather than treating you as innocent until proven guilty, they treat you as definitely guilty of something, even if it is only a small something.

Showing your true emotions could work against you

If a friend asks you how you feel about not getting to see your child, you might tell them it makes you want to scream. You might tell them how you have not slept for weeks, and find yourself breaking down into tears about it in all sorts of places, from work to the grocery store.

Your friend knows you. They know this is not normal behavior for you and they will understand why the situation has led you to that point. The evaluator, by contrast, won’t know you from Adam. If you tell them all this or get overly emotional or angry during the interviews with them, they may chalk it up as a mark against you. If your co-parent has accused you of being emotionally unstable or prone to violent mood swings, the evaluator may leave the interview in agreement with them.

Learning what you can do to increase the chance things go well, and to challenge any unfair assessments the evaluator makes is wise when so much is at stake.



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