Buzz Word Series: Custody Evaluations When Abuse is Present
From our Buzz Word Series, we know how important it is to “back up” any statements of abuse so that the Court takes your claim seriously. Now that we know the different types of abuse and how those patterns can affect divorce and custody cases, it is time to discuss how we actually prove (or disprove) allegations of abuse.
The answer? Expert witnesses. Expert witnesses are professionals that are sought in order to frame your experiences of domestic violence in a light that neither you nor your attorney is able to do through our lawyer-ly rules of evidence and procedure. These individuals, Forensic Evaluators and Custody Evaluators, are expert witnesses employed by one or both parties to conduct a psychological and scientific review into the depths of your personal life.
Custody and Forensic Evaluations are typically required when two parties have vastly different claims of experiences and stories. Courts utilize evaluators as a neutral third party in attempt to find the truth amidst the polarizing positions of the parties. These evaluations are as uncomfortable as they sound, but they may be necessary to prove your case.
Choosing the right evaluator is essential. Evaluations are in high-demand, time-consuming, and result in low pay in comparison to the amount of time the evaluator puts into your case. Keep a look out for an evaluator that does not ask for all of your medical and mental health records or follow through with what they told you they would do. Read the initial documents carefully and make copies. Evaluators are people too, which means they can be biased, over-worked, or distracted. That doesn’t mean your case should suffer.
If you think your case could turn into a battle, you want someone who specializes in high-conflict custody cases to protect you and your family. Call us at 605-777-1772 for a consult with our family law team today to ensure someone has your back.