Sometimes in child custody cases a custody evaluator is used as a neutral third party to make determinations of custody and parenting time. Here are the top 5 tips for dealing with a custody evaluator.

  1. Be respectful. Realize that the custody evaluator is only doing his or her job and that job is to assess you and your relationship with your child. Acting irritated about the process, the questions asked, or paperwork required paints you in a bad light. You do not want to seem uncooperative or difficult. Remember that this evaluation will be submitted to the judge and it will have a recommendation for custody and parenting time of your children. You do not want to be on the custody evaluator’s bad side.
  2. Be punctual. Make sure that you are on time for appointments and prompt in completing any paperwork. Also, make your payments to the evaluator in a timely matter. You do not want to be perceived as intentionally attempting to thwart or prolong the process. This might be misconstrued by the court.
  3. Be honest. No one is a perfect parent. Be honest about your parenting skills, your parenting styles, your values, and your relationship with your children. You want the custody evaluator to know that you take this process seriously, and if the custody evaluator does not think that you are being truthful, then your credibility will be called into question and can hurt you in the report.
  4. Be organized. Outline your thoughts, questions, concerns, etc. prior to your meetings with the custody evaluator. If you must provide documents, make sure that they are well-organized and neat. Provide documents neatly and promptly, keeping copies for yourself. This demonstrates that you value the process and that you care about the outcome.
  5. Be careful. Remember that the custody evaluator is a neutral third party. They are not your friend or confidant. Do not spend your time with the evaluator bashing the other parent, or making derogatory comments about the other party, the judge, or the attorney. Remember that everything you say could be included in the report and part of the recommendation.