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GAL and Custody Evaluator disagree

Old Lyme, CT |

I have a situation going into trial where the custody evaluation went against me, the mother, but the GAL is going to recommend primary custody in my favor. Does the judge give one or the other more relative weight when they disagree? The issue is mental illness (bipolar disorder) with some hospitalizations that is now being managed; and while the evaluator recommended primary residence with the father, the GAL still feels it is in the child's best interest to be with me primarily. She has been on the case for four years vs a 5 month psych evaluator, but he is the "expert." I am planning on challenging the evaluation at trial with my own expert/s and welcome any other advice.

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Attorney answers 1


The judge will not necessarily weigh the custody evaluation more heavily than the GAL, but you will definitely need to present your own custody expert and effectively (but gently) cross-examine the custody evaluator so that the judge can give the proper weight to the different types of evidence. You may want one or more of your doctors to testify as well. This sounds like a highly contested custody matter which may end up on the regional trial docket if you are not there yet. If you don't already have an attorney, you should certainly speak with one as soon as possible so that they can prepare the expert witness(es) and go forward with depositions as necessary.

Please keep in mind this is just a general suggestion and each individual matter has a specific set of facts and circumstances that should be taken into consideration. This is in no way legal advice and no attorney-client relationship has been formed. If you would like to discuss your matter further, you may contact us at or 203.745.3151. We wish you the best of luck with your matter.