Court-appointed mental health professionals often disagree about the methodology and elements included in child custody evaluations but rarely seek opinions of judges whom the evaluation is intended to aide. A recent national study of family law judges offers invaluable insight into what judges consider the most useful information in custody evaluations. Attendees will be presented with the data from this study and discuss the implications of what judges find the most useful information, as well as information regarding judges’ opinions of child custody evaluation reports. Attendees will learn the value in presenting reliable data to the court, the importance of  child focused reports and the caveats when they consider brief-focused evaluations to meet the needs of an underserved population. Attendees within the legal profession will also learn information obtained in the study about judicial opinions regarding disqualification of experts and expert opinions regarding legal custody of children and parenting time schedules.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify the elements in a child custody evaluation that judges consider to be the most useful when making rulings regarding the best interest of children.
  • Participants will be able to understanding how to adapt their methodology, report writing and recommendations in child custody evaluations to meet the needs of the court and best serve the diverse populations
  • Participants will learn judicial opinions related to the admissibility of child custody evaluations and issues of having evaluators opine on the ultimate question of legal custody and parenting plan schedules.