Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cool New Options for Custody and Parenting Resolutions

The Utah Fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Utah State Bar Family Law Section 18th annual seminar took place this weekend at the Utah State Bar. Valerie Hale, Ph.D. and Heather Walker, Ph.D, discussed some seminal alternatives to the traditional custody evaluation.

A comprehensive custody evaluation may become necessary in highly contested custody cases such as cases in which there are significant differences in facts or positions of the parties, where the parties' communication is tantamount to non-existent and/or where there are issues of domestic violence, child maltreatment, alienation or other issues touching on the parenting capacity of both parents.


However, comprehensive custody evaluations are just that - comprehensive. Practically, they are very expensive and take a considerable amount of time to finally receive the evaluation. For example, a child custody evaluation for 2 parents and 2 children with formal evaluation reports costs approximately $10,000.00.

Often parents are having a tough time working out a custody arrangement and have moderate differences in facts and/or positions, communication is restricted and can escalate into conflict, and there are mild allegations of maltreatment such that parents truly could use the assistance of a neutral third party trained and skilled in performing the tasks of performing custody evaluations, yet not needing or wanting to make the investment of time, money and energy a custody evaluation necessitates. These options can help resolve issues of parenting capacity, fitness of a parent, and ability of parents to co-parent.

There are now some options to allow parents to have the benefit of gaining the recommendation and insight of an expert opinion in the form of a parenting consultation, a limited family assessment, a brief focused assessment, or even a mediation based custody/visitation consultation, or MBCC. These options can be as low as $750.00 per person for a MBCC or $1500.00 to $2000.00 for a limited family assessment. Likewise, a limited family assessment can usually be done within 3 to 4 weeks and 2 to 3 weeks for an MBCC. The MBCC is not discoverable so the parties can be more relaxed and free to say and explore options without fear of potential ramifications in the event it does not work and and the parties end up doing it the hard way in litigation. Even if the MBCC does not work out and the parties end up in court, they are at least walking away with outlines of potential stipulated settlement and education regarding their positions.

Keep in mind that you cannot have a full blown custody evaluation without a full blown custody evaluation much like you cannot have heart surgery without having surgery. As Dr. Valerie Hale pointed out at the seminar, these options are more like a doctor listening to your heart with a stethoscope and asking you questions about your health and lifestyle and saying "Yep, you're doomed" or "Sounds great!"

In the difficult situation of facing divorce and trying to resolve custody and time share of your children, it is nice to have several different options and avenues available to assist in the difficult decisions and negotiations that custody issues entail.

9 comments:

  1. Family life is never static, but is filled with ups and downs that either enhance or weaken delicate family dynamics. Sometimes, families look forward to upcoming marriages or the adoption of a new child. Other times, families are devastated by loss or the anticipation of an impending divorce. When your family faces difficult times or exciting change it is important to contact a family law lawyer that will take the time to help you explore your options and reach a conclusion that is in the best interest of you and your family. An experienced attorney should be able to help you see the larger issues at play and provide the advice you need to make informed decisions about your future. Visit Professional negligence solicitor for more information.

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  2. I admit that there are some parents who have issues with the custody of their children. In some cases, there are parents who aren't able to pay the other, while there are also parents who aren't willing to provide support to the child. So it's good to know that there are those options to resolve such matters.



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  3. Yes if both the couples accepts in a mutual understanding base we can solve this issue - Utah Divorce Mediation

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  4. Custody evaluator bias is not an insult to either gender, but unquestioned, undiscovered bias too often plays a significant and tragic role in the child custody award (as if child custody is inherently or even chiefly a zero-sum game).continue studying

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