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Custody Evaluation (730) in CA;

Torrance, CA |

We were ordered a full custody evaluation for our 1 y.o. baby; baby girl lives with me and I m the primary custodial parent; i had a job offer on the east coast and requested a move away; temp. orders are in place for custody/visitation; What is this custody evaluation about? What it can tell a judge differently from the facts we could have presented from both sides? How does this custody evaluation can go against my relocation with our daughter? Thank you!

Attorney Answers 3

  1. In any contested custody or visitation proceeding, the court may appoint a “child custody evaluator” to conduct a “child custody evaluation” and prepare a confidential written report for the court's consideration where the court determines that an evaluation is in the child's best interests.

    The main factor that the Court is considering is whether the move to the east coast is in the best interests of your daughter. So, sometimes they look to a third party neutral person to evaluate the case and give recommendations, in this case a custody evaluation. The evaluator should interview all parties, see how they interact with the child, may interview other family members, in other cases they could meet with doctors or interview people at the children's school. The evaluator should also do a home visit, depending on whether it is a private or Court evaluator.

    Warning: This information is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with appropriate legal advisors. Further, this response does not constitute an attorney-client relationship and any privileges associated with that relationship.

  2. You need to speak to an experienced family law attorney NOW, BEFORE the evaluation STARTS; it will save you time, trouble and money in the long run, and you don't want to be in the position of trying to "fix" this if it goes badly. The judge should have been quite specific as to the information which the evaluator is supposed to provide, and the process for getting it (with a one-year old, for example, the evaluator's not going to "interview" the child!).

  3. A child custody evaluation conducted by a 730 expert is a full investigation and evaluation into what is in the “best interest of the child” in light of what you and your ex are asking for. A 730 expert is the Court’s expert and will provide at the conclusion of the examination a confidential report that will be provided to both parties and to the Court. Court’s rely heavily on a 730 expert’s recommendations. Therefore, it is imperative that during your interview you are responsive to the questions asked by the 730 expert. You have requested a move-away to the east coast with your 1 yr. old. Since it sounds like you are the primary custodial parent to your child and you have a job offer back east, the 730 expert will ask relevant questions about these 2 main facts. Exploration into what the status quo was prior to the move-away request, will also be scrutinized by the 730 expert, to ensure that the “best interest” of the child’s needs are being served. Credibility assessments are also conducted by the 730 expert to determine which party is being truthful and who is not. Although either party after the 730 report can contest portions or the entire 730 report through a 733 expert (2nd bite at the apple), getting your best evidence in with the 730 expert the first time around is always what one should strive for. This area of family law can get complex and I highly encourage you to seek competent counsel who can help navigate you through a 730 evaluation. It is serious business and not to be taken lightly.

    This is general information, not legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship.

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