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Preparing for a Court Ordered Child Custody Evaluation in New Jersey

By Jamie Berger, Esq.

Morristown Child Custody Evaluation Attorneys

Morristown Child Custody Evaluation Attorneys

If mediation did not prove to be a viable or successful option for your divorce and you are in need of a child custody evaluation, to help determine a realistic and fair resolution on parenting time, the help of an experienced professional may be useful in helping you and your spouse reach a better understanding of your children’s needs and outline the best course of action for you and your family. By objectively assessing the “best interest of the child” these evaluations can be critical critical tools to help determine a mutually agreeable child custody and visitation plan. This can also be a constructive opportunity to help you and your spouse, co-parent, family member, or other legally recognized caretaker define specific rules of engagement that both parties should follow to promote positive engagement moving forward.

Family courts give considerable weight to the recommendations of the evaluator. It is understandable that a level of nervousness and uncertainty be present for both parties, and custody evaluators recognize that there are no perfect parents and their recommendations are directed at determining the best parenting arrangement for the family as a whole.

When it comes to child custody evaluations, parents, legal guardians, and caretakers are understandably concerned about the process, what to expect, their role in the process, and how to best represent themselves and their intentions as a parent. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance pertaining to child custody in a divorcecivil union dissolution, or same sex divorce, our attorneys are here to help. The family law attorneys of Jacobs Berger LLC understand that emotions may run high when clients are navigating the divorce or dissolution process, especially when children are involved. That is why we strive to mitigate the stresses and legal complications that may arise, as we guide and advise our clients through the entire child custody evaluations process. 

Jacobs Berger LLC views every case we take as an opportunity to build a new and solid foundation for the future of our clients and their families throughout New Jersey towns including Morristown, Randolph, Madison, Dover, East Hanover, Tewksbury, Rockaway, and the greater Morris County region. We strive to focus on and build family life plans, out of family law problems.

Contact our office today to speak with one of our qualified child custody attorneys for a strategic planning session (973) 710-4366.

Child Custody Evaluation Professionals in Morris County NJ

Child custody evaluations are usually performed by a mental health professional (usually a psychologist) who is specifically trained in reviewing family situations, and making a recommendation to the judge regarding a child custody and parenting time plan that they believe is in the best interest of the child or children in question. The psychologist may provide a medically based opinion through a series of tests and interviews of each party and their children. The evaluator will also review the court documentation of the family court proceedings to date.

What Can I Expect of a Child Custody Evaluation Morris County NJ?

New Jersey child custody evaluations involve private interviews between the evaluator and each spouse, between the evaluator and each child, and scheduled observations of each parent and their relationship interactions with their children (e.g., either in the parent’s home, evaluator’s office, or both). In addition, interviews will be conducted between the child custody evaluator and teachers, doctors, caregivers, therapists or other adults who are closely involved in the children’s lives.

Once the evaluator has completed their interviews, observations, and analyses, they will prepare a formal recommendation to the court, outlining what they believe to be the best child custody agreement for the child and parents. Although not legally binding, this evaluation will be carry a great deal of weight for any judge when making a final child custody ruling.

How do I Prepare for My NJ Custody Evaluation? 

  • FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Be punctual. Dress neatly and conservatively. 
  • BE YOURSELF: It’s ok to be nervous or show emotion. Acknowledge both your strengths and your weaknesses as a parent or caretaker. Present yourself as being reasonable and placing the concerns of your child(ren) above all else. 
  • BE FAIR: If you have honest, rational concerns about the other party’s ability to parent, tell the evaluator – but make sure they are rational concerns.
  • STAY FOCUSED: Be honest. Stick to parenting issues. Answer questions directly.
  • TAKE NOTES: Jot down questions to help you stay focused and organize your thoughts during the interview so you won’t forget to ask something.
  • DOCUMENTATION: Bring any requested documentation, as well as copies that you can leave with the evaluator. If you have difficulty getting these documents, inform the evaluator, to keep the lines of communication open and show a willingness for the process.
  • WITNESSES: Gather the names, addresses and telephone numbers of your prospective witnesses, and inform them they may be contacted so they can prepare to speak on your behalf.
  • SELF-IMPROVEMENT: Seek appropriate counseling, treatment, parenting or anger management classes in areas that could reflect negatively on your parenting skills (e.g., previous substance abuse, a criminal record, or domestic violence) and be prepared to demonstrate how you have worked on these issues.

How Do I Prepare my Children for an NJ Child Custody Evaluation?

The evaluator will speak to your child(ren) during the evaluation process, so it is important (depending on their age and maturity level) you discuss with them what will happen. It is imperative that they do not feel encouraged to say anything negative about the other spouse, co-parent, family member or other legally recognized caretaker. Simply inform them that the evaluator is just trying to learn as much as they can about the family to find a solution to make sure everyone can work together.

Contact our Dover NJ Child Custody Evaluation Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our divorce and family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients navigate the child custody process in local New Jersey communities including Morristown, Denville, Morris Plains, Rockaway, Madison, Randolph, East Hanover, Dover, and all of Morris County. We take pride in offering dynamic and personalized legal solutions that address the unique needs and concerns of our clients. Our attorneys believe that amicable and mutually beneficial resolutions to even the most contentious disputes can be possible with the right approach.

Contact us online or call us at our Morristown offices by dialing (973) 710-4366 today for a comprehensive and confidential case assessment with a member of our qualified legal team regarding your child custody hearing, child custody evaluation, or any other divorce or family law matter.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.