Understanding how to win a child custody evaluation can go a long way to getting the custody over your kids that you want and deserve. Custody evaluations can be challenging and nerve-wracking if you don’t come prepared.
An experienced child custody lawyer can help you prepare what to say and what not to say during your custody evaluation. Below, we discuss six tips for how to handle yourself during a child custody evaluation.
Tips for Preparing for Your Child Custody Evaluation
Since you have complete control over what you say, the child custody evaluation is one of the easiest ways to have the court see you as the great parent that you are.
1. Do: Be Honest
The most important advice we can give to anyone facing a child custody evaluation is to be truthful. Be honest when you answer the evaluator’s questions regarding the past and your current situation.
You should also be open to acknowledging your strengths and your weaknesses as a parent. This means that you may have to tell the evaluator something that does not make you look good. But it’s always better to have the evaluator and court see you as an honest person than to catch you in a lie.
2. Do: Answer the Question Asked
This goes along with being honest. Listen very closely and answer the question that you’re asked, then be quiet. Don’t use a question as a jumping off point to state your case. Don’t volunteer answers to questions that aren’t being asked. If you don’t know the answer or understand the question, it’s ok to say so.
3. Do: Remember That It’s About Your Children (Not You)
It might be tough to fight fair during your child custody case, but you’ll benefit from doing so. Doing the easy thing — giving in to your insecurities and blaming your ex — could convey to the evaluator that you are not thinking about what is best for your children.
Instead, keep your focus on your children’s well-being. Provide answers that show the evaluator that you’re able to think about your children’s best interests in the midst of an emotional custody case.
If it’s true, it also won’t hurt to acknowledge the benefits of your children having positive relationships with both of their parents. However, it’s fine to speak the truth about any problems with the current custody or visitation arrangement that might be affecting your child.
4. Don’t: Trash Your Ex
If the evaluator asks you about your ex’s strengths and weaknesses as a parent, be truthful. Responding to the evaluator’s questions by talking only about problems your ex has caused will be seen as self-centered and inadequate. If you don’t mention anything about your own issues, your answers might even come off as lies.
Saying how you believe your ex is a bad mom or dad won’t do much for the evaluator and judge in determining the best future for your child. They will draw their own conclusions about each of you, so it’s best to simply tell the truth about you, your ex, and both of your strengths as parents.
5. Don’t: Ask for Advice
Don’t try to manipulate the evaluator by asking for therapy or advice on how to deal with your spouse or children. Cooperate with the evaluator, but don’t try to get something out of the evaluation just to manipulate the evaluator into doing what you want.
6. Don’t: Tell Your Kids What to Say
You should never coach your children about what they should say during their evaluations. You may need to tell them what an evaluation is and why they are being evaluated to ease their fear and confusion. But you shouldn’t tell them to speak badly about your ex.
Instead, tell your children that they just need to be honest and answer the evaluator’s questions. You may also want to explain to them that the evaluator is trying to learn about the family to help you and your ex work better together as parents.
Learn More About How to Win a Child Custody Evaluation
If you’d like to learn more about how to win a child custody evaluation, your first step should be to contact a child custody attorney. At Angela Faye Brown & Associates, our top priority is our clients’ children and their welfare. Our experienced attorneys can represent you in your child custody case and help you win your child custody evaluation. If you’d like to learn more about our services, contact us today.