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Examining child custody evaluations

In dealing with the issue of child custody, we here at the offices of Epperson Law PLLC know full well the resolve that the family court has in ensuring that the children needs are the primary factor used in structuring a custody agreement. Should the divorcing parents be unable to come to agreeable child custody terms on their own, North Carolina G.S. § 50-91-b allows the court to appoint a parenting coordinator to perform a custody evaluation to determine the terms that will meet the best interests of the child or children involved. We’ll address in this post what to expect during such an evaluation.

The law allows the court to charge the parents for the costs associated with the evaluation. The evaluation process itself typically begins with a thorough review of the divorce case to familiarize the evaluator with the parties involved and their unique circumstances. Once this is done, the parenting coordinator will typically conduct an extensive series of interviews with everyone associated with the case, including:

  • Children
  • Parents
  • Extended family
  • Teachers
  • Doctors
  • Caregivers

It’s not uncommon for certain parties to be interviewed multiple times in a one-on-one setting. The evaluator will also spend time with the children and a single parent together to observe their interactions. Psychological evaluations of both the parents and the children may also be required.

Both parents will receive a copy of the parenting coordinator’s report at the same time as the court. Each then will be given the opportunity to discuss and/or challenge any of the recommendations made by the evaluator.

To learn more about working through the child custody process, please visit our Child Custody page.