Janet L. Goehle, Attorney at Law
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What should I do during a parenting-time evaluation?

When divorces in Minnesota turn ugly and child custody disputes ensue, it often becomes necessary for the courts to order parenting-time evaluations. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, evaluators can gather information from multiple sources, such as parental employment history, mental and medical files and school records in addition to interviewing the parents and kids in order to make their decisions. If you are ordered to participate in this type of assessment, you may be wondering what you should do.

Be yourself

You may feel anxious, nervous and out of sorts because of the situation, but it is important for you to be yourself during the evaluation. Remain respectable, professional and articulate. Even if you feel like presenting yourself in a manner that is not true to improve your image, do not do it. You do not want it to backfire and negatively affect your custody and visitation wishes.

Stay focused

You need to remember that this meeting is necessary to determine custody in the best interests of your children. The evaluator is not there to act as your therapist or mediator. Their presence is merely to determine which parent your children are better off with, so stay focused.

Be open and honest

Be honest and direct with your responses. Do not attempt to mislead the professional in charge of the assessment. Doing so could paint you in a negative light and affect your wishes in the custody and visitation agreement.

Do not bad mouth the other parent

Regardless of how bad things are between you and the other parent, you should never say anything negative about them. Doing so only makes you look spiteful. It raises a red flag that indicates the children may end up in an environment where their relationship with their other parent may be threatened or interfered with.

Follow all current custody and visitation orders

While your evaluation is pending with the courts, it is important for you to follow any current agreements that are in place. This shows that you are serious about the situation and genuinely interested in your children’s overall well-being.

Custody and visitation assessments can be stressful for parents and children. However, they are necessary when parents cannot resolve their differences in custody and visitation disputes. This information is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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