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Thursday, August 02, 2012


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David M Eaker

Consideration also needs to be made for logistic issues, which are often the most critical factors. How long will the study take? Perhaps the best person is available but can't get a report out for 9 months or more. Often times the situation can't bear that delay. Sometimes it's a tactical advantage to have someone slow do the study so as to allow faborable temporary orders to settle in as the new status quo.

It is also helpful to build a good (not fake) personal repport with the evaluator. In choosing evaluators I always consider my clients personality and seek to match an evaluator that I believe will mesh well. This includes gender, socio economic issues, what I know about family of origin for each, and religious issues where that is a factor.

Reena Sommer, Ph.D.

All of your points are excellent ones. It's often a juggling act weighing all the variables. My experience as a former custody evaluator and now as a trial consultant involved in reviewing & short listing custody evaluators and then reviewing their reports when things go bad, suggests that there are some very unqualified people out there doing custody evaluations simply because they were certified by the county and put on a list.

The key is the weed out the unqualified ones by carefully reviewing their CVs in advance and as you note, matching the case/client to the evaluator. I've found that when the extra time is spent on the front end, the likelihood of receiving a thorough, balanced and well thought evaluation report is probable.

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