Child custody disputes can be highly contentious. This is understandable. After all, the outcome of any singular child custody issue can completely change your relationship with your child.
If that makes you nervous, then you need to be prepared before stepping to the negotiation table or into a courtroom to argue the matter. This means gathering evidence of why your position supports the child’s best interests. That may sound easy enough, but sometimes child custody disputes turn into he-said, she-said scenarios that make it challenging to decipher what, exactly, is going on in each parent’s household.
There is a way to get a clearer picture, though. Under Colorado law, any party to a child custody proceeding, as well as the court, has the ability to request that some sort of evaluation occur. This evaluation may be conducted by a social worker or a mental health professional, culminating in the creation and submission of a report to the court.
This evaluation should address any contested issue, which is pretty broad in scope and gives you the opportunity to pursue further evidence that may support your case. The evaluator is legally entitled to discuss parenting issues with other individuals, including those who have provided mental health, educational, medical, and other professional services to the family. The evaluator may also refer the child to a professional to obtain a mental health diagnosis, if needed.
The court will look at a number of factors before ordering an evaluation. It will consider whether the evaluation is necessary to determine what course of action furthers the child’s best interests and whether an evaluation of the child can contribute to that determination. Additionally, a court will consider whether the assignment of a family investigator, to be discussed in a future post, would be a more appropriate avenue to address the matter.
Child custody cases may seem straightforward on their face, but they can actually be enormously complex. So, if you find yourself considering the value of an evaluation, or wanting to challenge the results of an evaluation, then you might want to think about speaking with a legal advocate who can help you fight for the outcome that is best for your child.