A custody evaluation can be an immensely powerful tool in court. The judge will likely see the evaluator as a neutral third party who has been able to gain insights into the parties' relationships with their child(ren) that the court would never be able to do on its own and who will be able to help the court in determining what is in the child(ren)'s best interests, which is the ultimate standard a judge is going to use to make decisions about custody and parenting time. A positive evaluation can be very helpful in a domestic relations case and a negative evaluation can do lasting damage.

The evaluation process can be scary and confusing, both for the parents and for the child(ren). These guides are designed to take some of the mystery and uncertainty out of the process by giving the reader an idea of what to expect and warning about common mistakes and pitfalls, while at the same time providing positive alternatives. Generally, this is done by explaining a "Don't" situation that the reader should avoid and then providing an alternative for the reader to "Do" instead. Of course, this is not an exhuastive list and there are plenty of "Don'ts" out there that aren't considered by these guides. Also, there are bound to be other good "Do's" not proposed by the guides. Think of this more as a series of examples to learn from, rather than rules that have been set-in-stone.

This series of guides is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney who is able to meet with you in person and give you specific advice that has been tailored to your own unique situation. Rather, each guide has intentionally been written to be as general as possible with the hope that it will be useful to each individual reader.

The guides are numbered in the order in which they were written, but they do not necessarily have to be read in that order. After the number of each guide is a description of that guide's topic. These descriptions are included so that the reader has the option of selectively reading only those topics that he or she thinks apply to their own unique situation.