Child Custody Evaluator
A Child Custody Evaluator is a person who conducts an evaluation ordered by a court whereby the court can obtain information, opinions, recommendations, and answers to specific questions regarding conservatorship of a child including the conditions of possession of or access to a child or any other issue affecting the best interest of the child.
A Mental Exam may be ordered by the court, of the parties, or the child. A mental examination is conducted by a licensed mental health professional, usually a psychiatrist. If a mental report is significant to the child custody evaluation determination, it may be included in the custody evaluation report and relied on by the evaluator.
To be qualified to conduct a child custody evaluation, generally, an evaluator must have at least a master’s degree in a human services field of study, and a license to practice in Texas as a social worker, professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, or psychologist, or have a license to practice in Texas and a board certification in psychiatry and with the additional requirements of having reached a certain level of experience in the field and complete at least eight hours of family violence training.
In order to protect the impartiality of child custody evaluations, evaluators have the additional burden of disclosing to the court and to each attorney involved if they have any conflict of interest with any party or the child; any previous knowledge they have of a party or the child; any monetary interest with any attorney in the suit; any relationship of confidence or trust the person believes they have with an attorney in the suit; and any other information relating to the person’s knowledge with an attorney in the suit that a reasonable, prudent person would believe would affect the person’s ability to act impartially in conducting a child custody evaluation.