Child Custody Evaluations
The custody evaluation report will provide recommendations that are based on the professional judgment of the child custody evaluator regarding a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child(ren). Child custody evaluators will meet the standards set by California Rules of Court, Rule 5.220. In this County evaluations are limited and do not include psychological testing.
What is included in a limited child custody evaluation?
- Interviews with the parents.
- Interviews with the child(ren).
- A criminal records check
- A Child Protective Services check.
- Contact with collateral sources such as School Teachers, Counselors, or Employers.
How long does it take to complete a custody evaluation?
Generally the Court will continue your case for 60-90 days if a custody evaluation has been ordered. During this time the evaluator will conduct interviews, collect and review information, and write their evaluation report.
Will I receive a copy of the report?
Yes, a copy will be presented to your attorney or directly to you if you are not represented by an attorney.
Is the recommendation an order of the court?
A custody evaluation report and recommendation has no legal status until the Court acts on it. A party who wishes to have the report adopted must appear at a scheduled Court hearing. If both parties are in agreement, the Court may approve the recommendations, or the Court may decide to make other orders. If either party disagrees with the recommendation, the matter may be set for further Court hearing.
What are the qualifications of the evaluators?
All evaluators must follow the uniform standards of practice as established by the Rule of Court 5.220. Evaluators must meet the minimum requirements of education and experience set by the Administrative Office of the Courts under Rule of Court 5.220.
How much will a custody evaluation cost?
Custody evaluations, when ordered by the Court and conducted by an evaluator, are charged at the set fee of $1,200.00. Generally, each party pays half of the cost ($600.00). If a custody evaluation is ordered, the Court will make a determination as to the parties' ability to pay. If the Court finds that either party is able to pay all, or part, of the expense of the evaluation, the Court will make an order requiring repayment to the court. Fees for the child custody evaluation must be paid to the court prior to the beginning of the evaluation process.
What if you want the evaluator to Testify or provide a deposition?
The following rules apply to the subpoena of an evaluator:
- If the evaluator is to be examined in Court, he/she must receive the subpoena five (5) working days before the Court hearing;
- Due to time constraints, it is recommended that the party issuing the subpoena contact the evaluator 20 days before the Court hearing to determine the evaluator's availability.
- Depositions will take place at a mutually agreed upon time and place.
The evaluator may require a refundable deposit of $650.00 if subpoenaed to attend a Court hearing or proceeding as a witness. The party issuing the subpoena will be charged, at the rate of $75.00 per hour, for the actual time spent preparing for Court testimony and/or deposition and the actual time spent waiting at the court facility and travel time. The rate of $100.00/hour is charged for time actually spent on the witness stand. Fees are to be paid directly to the evaluator.