A parenting time evaluator, also known as a custody evaluator or parenting plan evaluator, is a professional who conducts assessments and evaluations related to child custody and visitation arrangements in cases of divorce or separation. Their primary role is to provide recommendations to the court regarding what parenting arrangements would be in the best interests of the child or children involved.
Here are some key aspects of a parenting time evaluator's role:
- Assessment: Parenting time evaluators typically assess various factors that can influence the child's well-being, such as the parents' abilities and willingness to co-parent, the child's relationship with each parent, the child's emotional and physical needs, and any relevant issues such as substance abuse or domestic violence.
- Interviews and Observations: They may conduct interviews with both parents, the child or children, and other individuals involved in the child's life, such as teachers or therapists. They may also observe interactions between the parents and the child to assess the quality of their relationships.
- Psychological Testing: In some cases, parenting time evaluators may use psychological assessments to gain insights into the mental and emotional well-being of the parents and the child.
- Report and Recommendations: After completing their assessments, parenting time evaluators prepare a detailed report for the court. This report typically includes their findings, analysis, and recommendations for a parenting plan that outlines custody and visitation arrangements. These recommendations are meant to serve the best interests of the child.
- Expert Testimony: Parenting time evaluators may be called to testify in court to explain their findings and recommendations, especially if there is a dispute between the parents regarding custody and visitation.
It's important to note that the specific role and qualifications of a parenting time evaluator can vary by jurisdiction, and the process may differ depending on local laws and court procedures. Additionally, the use of parenting time evaluators in child custody cases is not universal, and some jurisdictions may rely on other methods for resolving custody disputes.