Separated or divorcing parents generally have two options when it comes to child custody and parenting time for their children: (1) to agree in writing on terms that include where the children will primarily reside, parenting time schedule, and how major decisions about the children will be made, or (2) leave it up to the court to decide child custody and parenting time.
Leaving child custody and parenting time decisions to the court, however, places children squarely in the middle of their parents’ custody battle. And sadly with potentially lasting emotional harm.
Separated or divorcing parents can witness children’s experience first-hand in the compelling award-winning 2013 film “Talk to Strangers” produced by Connecticut attorney and filmmaker Larry Sarezky.
The dramatic film reveals the experiences of two siblings, a 9-year-old boy, and his 14-year-old sister, as they go through the court custody evaluation process.
This 25-minute film is one of the only outside divorce products ever endorsed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Parents and professionals can view the film’s trailer and purchase the film, along with a 17-page Parents’ Guide, here.
Child custody evaluations are typically conducted by forensic psychologists. Evaluations generally involve psychological testing of each parent, multiple interviews with the children and each parent, and with others involved with the family, such as teachers or health care providers.
The custody evaluator typically generates a report to the judge hearing the case. The evaluator’s report includes all findings and recommendations on how custody should be awarded. To find out how the court decides child custody and parenting time in New Jersey, see my previous post.
The custody evaluation can be extremely costly, generally ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 or more, not including court appearances or legal fees. But the biggest cost by far, sadly, is the emotional cost paid by the children.
Therefore, it’s generally best for the children for separated or divorcing parents to reach a custody and parenting time agreement out-of-court, where they alone decide what’s best for their kids.
To find out the best way to reach an agreement on child custody and parenting time for your children, call or click here to schedule a personalized one-on-one consultation.