custody evaluations are both thorough and evenhanded; we
do not accept requests for one-sided evaluations.
Upon completion of the comprehensive evaluation, a conference
is scheduled between the evaluators and the attorneys;
the clients themselves do not attend. Instead of a lengthy
report, a condensed version of the evaluation results
is presented verbally along with a written summary of
results and recommendations. The summary highlights the
strengths of each parent and addresses concerns about
specific parenting behaviors that could be detrimental
to the children. The custody conference format offers
a number of advantages:
It is faster. The average time from start to custody conference
is seven weeks for a typical evaluation of a motivated
It is more family friendly. The detailed and lengthy written
reports contain clinical material that is hurtful to people
who are already undergoing what is probably the most stressful
event of their lives. The elimination of the long report
allows the focus to be on the abilities of each individual
to parent their children.
It is more child centered. The conference format allows
us to be advocates for the children instead of having
to spend so much time and energy defending a report that
is seen to favor one side over the other.
It is court system friendly. The custody conference allows
evaluators time to discuss with the attorneys (when it
is requested) ways to present the feedback to their clients
in a manner that facilitates resolution and settlement.
The attorneys are free to ask whatever they wish. They
often use conference time to propose possible solutions
to the custody dilemma. Attorneys are given feedback as
to our expectations regarding different solution scenarios.
Because more than 95% of our evaluations settle following
the custody conference, there is a substantial reduction
in court time.
It is less expensive. When there is no need for a detailed
report to be written there is less evaluator time involved
and, subsequently, less cost as well