A custody evaluation helps courts in Georgia determine custody arrangements that are in the best interest of the children. Typically, a mental health professional conducts an official forensic child custody evaluation. Then, Georgia courts can use the evaluations in a variety of legal actions where the children’s best interest is to be determined, like divorces, modifications, legitimations, and other scenarios.
However, it’s important to note that not every Court action where the couple has children will require a custody evaluation. It may be court-ordered, or a parent, attorney, or guardian can request one. Child custody evaluations in Georgia are similar to those in other states. Here’s what you need to know.
Common Reasons for Forensic Child Custody Evaluations In Georgia
Child custody laws in Georgia require consideration of each parent’s:
- Home environment and ability to care for/nurture the child
- Physical and mental health
- Emotional ties to the child
- Ability to provide the child with clothing, food, and medical care
- Familiarity with the child’s health, educational, and social needs
- Involvement in the child’s schooling and extra-curricular activities
- Willingness to foster a relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent
- History of criminal activity, substance abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, etc.
They also consider the relationship between the child and any siblings and the overall, relative stability of each parent.
How Georgia Child Custody Evaluations Work
There are two main types of child custody evaluations in Georgia: full custody and focused-issue evaluations.
1. Full Custody Evaluation
Evaluators will examine many issues and make a recommendation to a judge. To do that effectively, they may:
- Interview the parents
- Interview the children
- Visit each parents’ homes
- Conduct psychological evaluations
- Observe parent and children interaction
- Interview others who know the family
- Consult with professionals who have cared for the family (doctors, etc.)
- Review medical and school records
2. Focused-Issue Evaluation
A single issue is examined and a specific custody recommendation may or may not be made. While they do not generally take as long as full custody evaluations, each case is unique. Typically, these evaluations specifically evaluate:
- Parental fitness
- Psychological issues
- Anger management
- Addictive disorders
How to Prepare for a Child Custody Evaluation in Georgia
If you are facing a custody evaluation in Georgia, you should contact an experienced family law attorney.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Family law attorney Trinity Hundredmark has over a decade of experience representing clients divorcing in Georgia.
For more information, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.