A custody evaluation is a major component in the court process to determine who gets custody of the children. The evaluation is often conducted by a social worker. Here are some dos and don'ts of handling your custody evaluation when it comes up:

  1. Do be honest about your current situation. The social worker will ask a lot of questions about your home, work, friends, and family. Being honest about each will help to avoid confusion later. 
  2. Do not speak negatively about the other parent. No matter how you feel about the other parent's parenting skills, do not say anything bad about him or her. This could reflect poorly on you.
  3. Do have a clear custodial arrangement. Before the evaluation, write down the details of the custodial arrangement you want. You should also have a secondary plan to provide the evaluator.
  4. Do not tell your kids what to say. Not only would asking the kids to say certain things seem like pitting them against the other parent, but it sets a bad example for them. 
  5. Do admit to your weaknesses. Instead of simply focusing on your strengths as a parent, you also need to talk about your weaknesses. This shows that you are honest about your parenting skills and want what is best for the children.
  6. Do not miss the evaluation. The social worker most likely has a busy schedule. If you miss the appointment, it not only delays the evaluation of your parenting skills, but also shows disrespect of the worker's time.
  7. Do submit documentation requested. The social worker might need documentation from you as part of his or her evaluation. It is imperative that you provide the requested documents as soon as possible to avoid delays.
  8. Do not offer unnecessary information. Only answer questions that the social worker has asked. You could hurt your case by providing more information than the social worker wants. 
  9. Do remain professional. You should treat your evaluation the same as you would a meeting with an important client or your supervisor. Dress conservatively, be on time, and be sincere.
  10. Do not forget to prepare with your lawyer. Before the evaluation, meet with your lawyer to go over what to expect. Your lawyer can help put to rest any fears you might have.

A child custody evaluation can be nerve-racking. Fortunately, with preparation and the help of your lawyer, you can be ready when the time comes. If you have other questions or need more help, contact a company like Abom & Kutulakis LLP.