From time to time, one party or the other (or even the Court) may request the use of a forensic evaluator, or “730 evaluator,” – a professional, expert, who provides a report to the Court with regard to a specific issue. In the Family Law arena, during the course of a divorce, or child custody and child visitation action, these evaluations are often used by the Courts to obtain an expert opinion about the “best interest of the child.”
California law dictates that child custody and child visitation plans be based on the best interest of the child. Evaluators make recommendations to the Court, through reports based on data that they gather through interviews with the parties and the children, through observations of the parents interacting with the children, and through multiple psychological tests. Although the evaluators have extensive education and training, their recommendations are only that; ultimately, the decisions about custody and visitation will be left to the judge.
Most evaluations may take a significant amount of time, due to competing schedules and conflicting considerations of those involved; and most evaluations will cost the parties a few thousand dollars. The finished report is used as a tool to provide additional information that the Court may not have, in making the best child custody decision possible. The law, under the California Family Code, limits the evaluator to an opinion that fits within their training and experience, so finding the right evaluator is very important.
If you have any questions regarding “730 evaluations,” child custody, or other family law matters, the Law Office of Heath L. Baker will help you. Please contact us through our website: www.heathbakerlaw.com, or call us at: (951) 222-2228. We would love to talk to you in person and discuss the family law or divorce issues that are important to you.