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Child Custody Evaluations in DuPage County

Court Ordered Psychological Exam Lawyers in Naperville, IL

A child custody evaluation is an important part of many family law matters. Some judges order these evaluations frequently in contested cases, while others use them only as a last resort, after mediation and other dispute resolution methods have failed. Most courts, however, utilize evaluations on a case-by-case basis. It is important to select a competent and impartial professional who is sympathetic to your point of view.

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we offer sound advice based on years of experience during both the selection and evaluation process, to help ensure the best possible results. Once the report is released, we can either attack or defend it in court.

Selection

Sometimes, the judge may randomly assign a psychologist or psychiatrist to conduct the evaluation. In these cases, your attorney can either object to the assignment or use the person's lack of credentials as ammunition in a subsequent hearing objecting to the report. It is typically best to object to the appointment, as a complaint about the report's validity may fall on deaf ears if the outcome was not in your favor.

Other times, the judge allows the parties to choose the evaluator. Depending on the county, your selection may be rather limited. There may be only a handful of qualified evaluators at the county resource office. Hiring a private psychologist or psychiatrist may be an option, but such a move is normally cost prohibitive. A county psychologist or psychiatrist may charge around $2,000 for an evaluation, while a private evaluator may charge approximately four to five times that amount.

Typically, a judge will offer two or three names, and each party has the opportunity to either strike one or select one. It is important for your attorney to thoroughly evaluate the nominations and make wise choices.

Evaluation

This process generally takes a few months or longer. All evaluators have their own approaches, but generally speaking, you can expect the professional to do the following:

  • Interview the parents separately two or three times,
  • Speak with the child(ren) once or twice,
  • Review the legal documents in the court's file,
  • Administer psychological tests,
  • Interview collaterals such as teachers, doctors, pastors, and other witnesses, and
  • Observe the parents' and child(ren)'s daily interactions and activities.

All these meetings are planned; surprise inspections are quite rare in these situations.

The report itself typically makes recommendations concerning child custody (parental responsibilities), parenting time, family therapy, and other similar items. Most judges give a considerable amount of weight to these reports, unless there are serious questions about the evaluator or the process.

An evaluation usually dictates a subsequent custody or parental responsibility determination. For practical advice and aggressive representation in these matters, contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240. After hours and weekend consultations are available.

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