Child Custody Evaluation
When mediation or other methods of alternative dispute resolution fail, judges sometimes order an evaluation of the family by a licensed mental health professional. Once a family has been referred by the Court for a Custody Evaluation they are contacted with information describing the process. After interviewing the family and collecting information from other sources, the evaluator makes written recommendations to the Court relative to the best interests of the children.
The basic fee for this service is $3,000 payable in advance, and includes interviews, review of collateral documents, telephone conferences and report writing. Additional costs may include drug/alcohol or psychological testing, fees for obtaining medical, psychiatric or legal records, fees for failed appointments, additional interviews requested by the parties, and expert testimony by the evaluator. The interview process begins as soon as both parties’ fees have been received. Your portion of the fee will be returned if the other party fails to comply within 45 days, and the Court will be notified as to the status of the case.
The written recommendations are mailed directly to the Court. After the report has been completed, the evaluator may neither accept further information nor have further communication with the parties unless instructed by the Court to do so.
If either party's attorney wishes to question the evaluator under oath, a fee for expert testimony will be charged at the rate of $200 per hour. The attorney must send a subpoena and retainer fee in the amount of $1000 at least 72 hours in advance of the testimony date. Failed appointments are billed at $200 per hour if not canceled at least 24 hours in advance.