I have been performing parenting time and custody evaluations for over 15 years and have a background in family therapy, psychological assessment, and divorce adjustment research. In meeting with you, my primary goal will be to gain an understanding of your child’s (or children’s) needs and then to determine how well you and your ex-partner can meet these needs. I am less interested in diagnosing parents or hunting for pathology than I am in understanding the interactions between family members and how these patterns of behavior help or harm the child(ren).
Typically, I start the evaluation by meeting with each parent for two individual interviews lasting two hours each. This gives me important background information and helps me to understand your family situation before I meet with your child(ren). I am more flexible about the timing and sequence of the remaining visits and procedures. These include: two individual meetings with each child (I ask each parent to bring the child to one meeting), psychological testing of each parent, and parent-child interactions [in which each parent is observed with his or her child(ren) ]. The length and format of my contact with children varies somewhat depending on their age. The expectation is that all visits will occur in my office. (I sometimes perform home visits, but this is considered an additional procedure and would involve a fee beyond my standard retainer.)
It is also my practice to contact professionals involved with your family (e.g., teachers, therapists, psychiatrists, etc.) and to solicit input from friends or family members that you and your ex-partner ask me to contact. You will find additional information about the custody evaluation process, fees, and policies in the Custody/Parenting Time Study Agreement, which can be accessed here: Custody Study Agreement.
Prior to ourt first meeting, there will need to be a court order assigning me as your evaluator. I also ask that you complete the Background Information Questionnaire and either bring this to your first meeting or send it to me in advance. (This form can be downloaded here: Custody Study Background Worksheet). I will review the Custody Consent form with you in person before asking you to sign it, but it may help to review it in advance. Please note that the retainer must be paid in full at the time of our first appointment. Information concerning fees is contained in the Custody Consent form.