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Child Custody Evaluations

San Diego Child Custody Lawyers
Child Custody Evaluations

When a California divorce case is filed and there are children of the marriage at issue, the situation revolving around child custody is often contested and it can become very nasty.  When this unfortunate circumstance arises, the court can order a California child custody evaluation, or what’s known in the legal world as a ‘730 Evaluation’ which relates to the numerical citation in the California Evidence Code. Fathers who are facing the prospect of going through a 730 evaluation should seek the immediate help of San Diego child custody lawyers, and below is a brief introduction to this process.

What is a Child Custody Evaluation?

A child custody evaluation is a process whereby the court overseeing the California divorce case appoints an expert to study the family and its dynamics in order to determine what sort of custody arrangement would serve the best interests of the child. These evaluations can take weeks as the expert learns more about the inner workings of the family, and the expert’s final recommendations are almost always given a great deal of weight by the court.

Who Serves as a Child Custody Evaluator?

While the court has some discretion as to the identity of the expert it names, this person is almost always a licensed and experienced mental health professional. This person will not look at the situation from a legal standpoint, but rather will analyze the possible child custody arrangements from the perspective of a psychologist.

How Does a 730 Evaluation Come About?

A 730 Evaluation can come about in several different ways. Parents and/or their San Diego divorce lawyers can stipulate or agree to the evaluation when child custody issues cannot be resolved between them. One of the parents can also request such an evaluation alone, but the judge will have to approve the motion. Finally, the court itself can order the evaluation when it sees fit.

Can the Results of the Child Custody Evaluation Be Challenged?

Yes, if the final recommendations of the evaluator are not seen as acceptable by one of the parties, that party can challenge the results. However, this can be a difficult process to undertake given the court’s preference to follow the expert’s recommendations. This challenge can be done by putting the expert on the witness stand for cross-examination, and the challenging party can also present evidence from another expert that will present a different view of how child custody should be handled.

Overall, these child custody evaluations are difficult for everyone to endure given the stress involved. If you are facing this process, you need to seek the help of San Diego child custody lawyers as soon as possible to make sure that your legal rights are protected. Contact the Men’s Legal Center today to schedule an initial consultation.