Our Portland Custody Attorney Advises Clients Facing Child Custody Evaluations

child custody evaluations
Contested custody cases often call for the parents, children and references to be interviewed and assessed by an expert evaluator to make a child custody recommendation. While the recommendation is not binding on the court, it will be highly persuasive to the judge in a contested custody case. Oregon divorce courts overwhelmingly follow the advice and recommendations of an evaluator, which is why choosing the expert and cooperating with that person is extremely important. Portland custody lawyer Ronald Allen Johnston has substantial experience in the area of child custody evaluations, and he counsels his clients in how to best present themselves and their families to protect their child custody rights.

Who Performs Child Custody Evaluations?

The expert doing the evaluation may be a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist or some other type of mental health professional. Sometimes they are public workers or connected to governmental services, other times they are from the private sector.

Both parties have a say in hiring the child custody evaluator. If the parties cannot agree to an evaluator that suits their situation, the court will appoint one. The type of expert to use and the specific individual to hire is a critical decision in a custody case, and parents and counsel should make this decision carefully and deliberately.

Ronald Allen Johnston is well versed in child custody evaluations, and he frequently meets with other attorneys to discuss and share experiences in pending custody cases. He has experience with many custody evaluators and understands what they are looking for and how they will react to certain situations. This helps him to better match an expert to a client to a case. Ronald Allen Johnston prepares and briefs his clients on how to present the case to the evaluator. He is mindful that how you say something often is as important as what you say.

What Can I Expect from a Child Custody Evaluation?

The first step in a child custody evaluation will be interviews with the parties and children. The evaluator may wish to interview the parties alone, together or with the children to help him or her understand the family dynamics. An evaluator may wish to conduct home visits, as well.

Besides the parties and children, evaluators may also interview family members, friends or other third parties to obtain insight into the case. This may include pediatricians, therapists, teachers and day-care personnel. An evaluator will make recommendations regarding custody and parenting time in a written report. As stated above, the recommendation is non-binding; however, judges give great deference to the opinions of an evaluator. If the case goes to trial, the evaluator may be called as a witness, subject to cross-examination by each party’s attorney.

Portland family attorney Ronald Allen Johnston has over 40 years of experience seeking and defending custody in Oregon for both mothers and fathers. Ronald Johnston is dedicated to advocating for parental rights and parenting time for our clients. Do not make the mistake of attempting to litigate a contested custody case without an experienced attorney at your side. Contact our firm today to discuss your and your family’s situation in a confidential consultation.

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