“What Is A Custody Evaluation and Why Is It So Expensive?”

A custody evaluation, often called a 730 Eval (the family law code section which authorizes them is section 730) is an evaluation of the parents and children in a contested custody situation for the purpose of making a custody and visitation recommendation to the judge.

They are expensive (and take some time) because they are conducted by a licensed psychologist who has been trained to make such recommendations. There are only a few psychologists who perform them in any given location.

The evaluation consists of interviews and tests, and at the end, a formal report is issued which is given to all parties. Step-parents or other family members may be included as well if requested by the judge. They generally take between 4 months to a year to complete, and cost between five and ten thousand dollars.

So why would you have a custody evaluation? The reason is simple: the testing allows the psychologist to catch psychological conditions that may not be readily apparent without testing, and allows a full psychological analysis of issues like parental alienation, coaching of testimony for minors, and personality disorders like narcissism. These often cannot be proven in any other way.

They are time consuming and expensive, but they can be very effective when circumstances warrant them.

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