No matter how amicable, divorce is still a difficult process for all involved—especially children. It can be even more stressful for children when the process involves a lot of conflict, such as disagreements over custody. Child custody evaluations can help ease the question of custody for both children and parents by getting a third party involved. See how these evaluations can benefit children during divorce procedures.
They Provide an Unbiased Opinion
A child custody evaluation involves a mental health professional—typically a psychologist with specialized training or who has earned a specialized certificate—who meets and observes each parent and the children involved. They will evaluate the relationship between each parent and their child or children, interview each parent and child separately, and observe their home environments.
The evaluator serves as an unbiased source of information for the courts. This is beneficial for the child because the evaluator is looking out for what custody situation is best for the child, not what’s best for the parents.
The Child’s Interests Are at the Center
Stories can become misconstrued during the divorce process, and in worst-case scenarios, children may be pressured by either parent to take a side. Child custody evaluations help uncover unhealthy family dynamics that could have a lasting negative effect on children’s mental health and well-being.
These evaluations also help make tough decisions without having to engage children in the discussion. The evaluator will spend extensive time talking to the child to see what is best for them. The child’s opinion and concerns are respected and used to determine the best custody situation for their happiness and well-being.
For those seeking certification in child custody evaluation or simply wanting to keep up with best practices, CONCEPT Continuing and Professional Studies at Palo Alto University offers numerous continuing education and certification opportunities for mental health professionals. Browse our available self-paced training programs and on-demand webinars today.