Custody evaluators are third parties who are either appointed by the court, or agreed to by the parents, to make recommendations to the court regarding legal custody, physical custody and parenting time. Custody evaluations are not easy. In fact, most parents in Maryland dread them. The notion of having someone who they barely know make a decision about a relationship with their child can seem unfair. Regardless, custody evaluations are a normal (and vital) part of the process, so it is best to be prepared for them.

This post will review a few of the things that custody evaluators look for.

Stable environments – Family court judges look for stability and predictability, since they are important for children’s emotional growth.  As such, evaluators look to how parents provide such environments.

Relationships – Of course, evaluators look at the child’s relationship with each parent, but they also examine the bonds they have with extended family members and family friends. Courts believe that it is critical in maintaining stable environments that children have continuing contact with extended family.

Willingness – Another important factor is whether each parent is willing to promote the child’s relationship with the other parent. This also allows evaluators to discover if one parent is sabotaging the child’s bond with the other parent.

Communication – Evaluators will also look at how parents exchange information, as well as how they cooperate in resolving conflict. It is critical that divorced (or separated) parents be able to work together.

If you have questions about other factors that custody evaluators will make recommendations on, an experienced family law attorney can help.