Meeting with the Evaluator

A Bergen County Child Custody Attorney

Discusses Meeting the Evaluator in a Child Custody Case

Children and divorce; the very words together create an emotional impact on all involved. As a divorcing parent, you, of course, want to be awarded custody, but it is important to step back and look at the big picture. One basic consideration an attorney will emphasize is the manner in which the case evaluator assigned by the court will be making his or her decision. Understanding this process and preparing your presentation accordingly can go a long way in achieving a positive result in your case. Contact The Radol Law Firm for a consultation.

Develop “Themes”

It’s almost impossible to be objective, and each parent will believe he or she would serve as the better parent, but an experienced evaluator has heard all this before. All too often, one parent will spend a great deal of time ‘bashing” the other; it is wise to refrain from this tactic as well. Instead, a more reasoned approach is to explain in some detail what you provide as a parent by emphasizing such things as:

  • Ensuring physical health and safety
  • Ensuring emotional support
  • The ability to maintain as fully as possible the child’s current life in such areas as home life, friends, activities and school attendance

Avoid Hyperbole and Exaggeration, But Be Factual

The evaluator will be very experienced in uncovering a parent’s bad or erratic behavior (whether in the past or present). If you become too aggressive or repetitive in complaining of your spouse’s behavior, the evaluator may come away with a negative impression of you. It is more desirable to let the record speak for itself. If there is documentation of criminal behavior, substance abuse or the like, it is preferable for the evaluator to learn of this information directly from the official sources rather than the other parent. It is essential, however, for the evaluator to be fully aware of the true and complete facts.

Avoid Being Conclusory

Most parents involved in a custody battle are acutely aware of the legal standard New Jersey courts employ first and foremost in making custody orders: the best interest of the child. However, the best interest of the child is for the court to decide and not the parent. It assists the evaluator little, and in fact can be a negative, if one parent states he or she should have custody because it is in the child’s best interests. It does, however, help the evaluator if, for example, you explain that the child’s other parent traveled extensively for business, and you were always home to care for the child.

Recognize the Other Parent

In all but the worst cases, most people will acknowledge that their child should have a good relationship with the other parent. If you approach your meeting with the evaluator with an honest understanding of this important issue and a willingness to suggest a realistic plan to make it a reality, you will place yourself in a very favorable light.

Contact a Bergen County Child Custody Attorney for Legal Advice

Few matters in life are as difficult as the dissolution of a marriage. It is important to retain counsel who not only understands the legal issues but who also can provide emotional guidance and support through the difficult times. If you are facing a child custody case, contact The Radol Law Firm for a consultation.