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

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

Posted

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.

DISCLAIMER: This answer and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should always seek competent counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Posted

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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2 comments

Asker

Posted

Actually, the 730 has been completed and opposition is doing a 733 rebuttal. But the 733 is interviewing the children and has reached out to collaterals of the opposition to interview them too. They are contesting the 730 and the children are being requested to complete testing. Can I oppose...

John Vincent Montero

John Vincent Montero

Posted

Good question. You would need to seek a protective order from the Judge to keep the children from being interviewed. However, the opposition will demand the questioning as the kids have already been interviewed by the 730 evaluator. The best outcome is that this will come down to a dispute at trial. The Judge will have to decide based on the testimony what recommendation is in the best interest of the children.

Posted

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.

Attorney James R. Fox If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer or select it as Best Answer. It’s easy and appreciated. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship and does not create a right to continuing email exchanges.

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