Does an Evidence code 733 expert for child custody have the right to interview the children and collaterals in California?

Asked over 1 year ago - Sacramento, CA

Opposing counsel filed a declaration from 733 expert stating that they had met with children for over 1 hour each and had determined opinions about the matter (the 733 Expert was hired the day of the meeting with the children and, apparently, has not seen any of the documents related to the 730 evaluation). Is this appropriate?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Heather Mellyn Cullen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . An evaluator pursuant to California Evidence Code section 733 can provide testimony like any other witness called by a party. If the evaluator is accepted by the court as an expert then the evaluator can also provide opinion as it relates to the expert’s field of knowledge. All testimony is subject to cross-examination and all evidence is subject to the rules of evidence unless agreed upon otherwise. Therefore, if you are not in agreement with the evaluator’s information it is in your best interest to discuss a legal strategy with your attorney and determine what the best method is to discredit or disallow the opinion and/or information from the additional evaluator.

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  2. James Robert Fox

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . Generally the answer is NO. The 733 evaluator is there to challenge the 730 evaluator's findings and question the process of the 730 evaluators own evaluation. However, a motion can be made to the judge to go beyond that scope and do a "quasi" 730 evaluation, but there has to be some offer of proof the judge will buy to allow another 730 type eval.

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  3. John Vincent Montero

    Contributor Level 8

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . There does not seem to be enough information in your question to give you a detailed answer. The general answer is that a 730 evaluator will generally interview the parents and the children if they are of a certain age. This age will often depend on the evaluator. A thorough 730 evaluation will often involve numerous collateral contacts in order to obtain information that can be used in preparing a report.
    I hope this answers your question.

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