In California, a 730 child custody evaluation is ordered by the California Family Court judges to look into the mental health and parenting practices of one or both parents. This is done pursuant to Evidence Code section 730. A 730 evaluation can be a long, exhausting and emotional process. The 730 evaluation is conducted by a professional that meets the strict requirements set forth in the California Family Code and the California Rules of Court. The child custody evaluator is considered the Court’s/Judge’s point of qualified source on the issue of custody. The evaluator is to provide a comprehensive, objective, and unbiased evaluation of child custody which will include recommendations as to a custodial arrangement that is in the best interests of the child(ren).
After the results of the assessment, A party has the right to challenge the findings of a 730 adviser after the release of the evaluation report. In such a case, a party has a couple options: to depose the individual who conducted the evaluation, call the evaluator to the witness stand for cross-examination, and/or hire a separate evaluator as their own adviser under Evidence Code section 733.. Either way, a professional lawyer that has experience in custody cases is an imperative asset.
The Goldberg Legal Group is a family law firm that operates in Irvine, California. We understand the 730 child evaluation process and know that no child custody matter is precisely the same. We will aggressively defend your child custody interests.
Why do I need a lawyer for my 730 child evaluation in California?
As mentioned before, a 730 custody evaluation
is ordered by a family court judge in California when they want to take an in-depth look at one or both parents’ mental state and parenting abilities. This evaluation is done under California’s Evidence Code Section 730
. A 730 custody evaluation happens when the best interest of the child is in question, which could be for several reasons, such as:
- Concerns about child abuse
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Mental health problems
- Proposed relocation of one parent and the other parent objects
- Disagreement between parents on custody arrangements
- Question about the child’s upbringing.
An evaluator chosen by the court is responsible for conducting a 730 evaluation. In California, any of the following qualified mental health professionals can be an evaluator:
- Qualified social workers
All evaluators need to meet certain criteria, such as:
- Proof that they qualify under California Family Code 3110
- Custody-related training
- All evaluators must have at least five years of postgraduate experience diagnosing emotional and mental disorders
- Every reviewer upholds a code of conduct and ethics
In some cases, the parties are allowed to choose their evaluator. If you can do so, your attorney will make suggestions for you based on your experience.
A 730 evaluation consists of a series of interviews with the child and all the adults involved in his or her life, like parents, grandparents, or any other relative who plays a vital role in the child’s life. This process can take a long time, and it often takes at least three months for the evaluator to complete all the necessary interviews and write his or her report. The process can also include:
- Observation of parents with the child
- Psychological tests for the parents and the child
- Consideration of other family and third parties with the child
- Review of report and other data
- Home visits
At the end of the evaluation process, the evaluator will provide a report to the court and each parent’s lawyer. If both parents accept the report, then it is submitted into evidence. However, if there are any disagreements, then either party can rebut the findings in front of the court. The evaluator will be called to court to testify, and the final decision will be made by the judge, always in the best interest of the child.
Lawyers for 730 custody evaluations in Orange County and Irvine, California
If you disagree with the 730 custody evaluation findings, or if you feel that the evaluator failed to investigate your case adequately, you need to hire an knowledgeable attorney to advise you. The custody lawyers at the Goldberg Legal Group know how important child custody is for a parent. A 730 evaluation is a lengthy and expensive process, so you should be fully prepared for it, and ready to challenge the findings if you feel they are inadequate. Our skilled attorneys will do their best to rebut the report, and to make sure that the court reaches a fair and equitable decision.
730 custody evaluations are a long process, so call us now for a free consultation!
The Goldberg Legal Group
7545 Irvine Center Drive Suite 200
Irvine, CA 92618