When going through a divorce, it is not always easy to decide who should be given custody of shared children. When it is unclear who can take on the responsibilities of child custody, a custody evaluator may be able to help. They do much of the same investigative work as a guardian ad litem, but they also perform psychological evaluations on parents and children to establish any ailments that might make custody too cumbersome. To learn more about the role of an Alpharetta custody evaluator, call a skilled attorney today.

What is a Custody Evaluator?

The custody evaluator is similar to the guardian ad litem in that they conduct an investigation involving psychological evaluations. A custody evaluator will do many of the things that a guardian ad litem would do, but each parent will also have a psychological evaluation. It is possible that the children will have evaluations as well, and any psychological issues will be taken into account in the recommendation.

An Alpharetta custody evaluator is helpful in situations where there are concerns about mental health. If there are suspected undiagnosed mental health issues, a custody evaluator is going to be able to uncover those and make appropriate recommendations.

They investigate and make recommendations, but unlike a guardian ad litem, custody evaluators also look for any psychological diagnoses of either of the parents or perhaps one of the children, which could impact the ultimate recommendation. For example, a parent who has an untreated bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder could impact what is recommended for custody.

Custody Evaluator Compared to Guardian Ad Litem

It is rare to have both a guardian ad litem and a custody evaluator. Custody evaluations are expensive, so if parents have very limited funds, it is not likely that they’re going to be able to pay for a custody evaluation, as they can cost $20,000 per party. A guardian ad litem is typically more affordable and probably more appropriate in situations where there is no concern about any mental health issues.

The custody evaluator can perform psychological evaluations, and the guardian ad litem can investigate things that are not psychologically relevant such as going to the school and interviewing people. However, it is very uncommon to have both, as very few people can afford both, and it is typically not necessary. It is common for a guardian ad litem to recommend that the parties receive psychological evaluations, but the psychologist who evaluates does not conduct the entire investigation.

Choosing an Investigator vs. Being Assigned an Investigator

Either the parties or the judge chooses the investigator. Typically, the attorneys who represent the parties will discuss different people available who do custody evaluation work and will come to an agreement, and they will subsequently submit a consent order to the judge. They will ask the judge to sign that order appointing the evaluator. If the parties, through their lawyers, either do not agree that a custody evaluation is needed or they cannot agree on a specific person to serve as the evaluator, then the judge will decide. Call today to learn more about the role of an Alpharetta custody evaluator.

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