Yes, the court can order and compell a custody evaluation despite the fact that you are not in a position to pay for the evaluation. Some custody evaluations are less expensive then others and some are done by the County.
Yes the judge can order it. The cost can be split between the parents depending on their income or the judge can have the state pay if your income is low.
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Judges may order evaluations. In my part of the state, they usually do not if there isn't enough money. But I am not familiar with NYC.
If the other party has more money than you, the judge can order that party to pay all or part of your share of the cost. Make sure your lawyer is aware of the problem and makes the court aware of it.
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Yes, either the family or the divorce court can order a custody evaluation and cause you to pay a portion of it. However, under County Law 722(c), if you are unable to afford the costs of litigation, the court should order that 722(c) pay for your portion of the evaluation. In this area, you do not give enough information.
Also, there may be a more pertinent reason for ordering a custody evaluation despite the court knowing you cannot afford one. This may be a strategy to get you to give in to an initial award of custody of your child to the opposing parent. That is to say that despite your inability to pay, the ordering of a custodial evaluator is happening nonetheless is a way to get you to give up and surrender custody of your child under the duress caused by your inability to pay.
Be very cautious. Bring along a tax return, an unemployment stub or whatever else to show the court you cannot afford the evaluation. The point here is not to simply give up your child. The opposing parent may be the worse choice for the child and reversing an initial award entered on consent is extremely rare and difficult. That's a key point: a consent is not appealable and rarely reversible, yet the danger to the child being raised by the wrong parent is absolute.
I can imagine hiring a lawyer is also difficult. Good luck to you and your child.
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