Child Custody Evaluation and the 706 Custody Evaluator

If you are going through a divorce and have children, you will usually have to make a parenting plan before your divorce can be finalized. Parents who were never married can be involved in custody disputes also, and will need a parenting plan if they go to court.

This important document will determine custody, visitation rights, education, healthcare and other details in regard to how you will raise your children after the divorce.

For many parents, this is the most stressful and difficult part of the divorce, and often parents are unable to reach agreements on their own.

When this is the case, custody agreements must be determined by the court.

What is a child custody evaluation?

New Mexico intends to resolve issues of child custody, visitation rights and time-sharing by offering Court Clinics to families to assist them with the creation of a sound parenting plan.

For parents who cannot agree on child custody arrangements and have exhausted the Court Clinics or rejected them for whatever reason, the option to hire a private child custody expert (also commonly referred to as a 706 Expert) is available.

Usually only used in high-conflict cases, these private experts are appointed by the courts to make recommendations on custody rights, and their recommendations carry weight with the judge.

While it’s not ideal to use a 706 Expert if you can come to custody agreements on your own, sometimes it’s the only option.

Here’s some of what you can expect in the evaluation process:

      • Interview. The evaluation will include an in-depth interview with both parents and the child.
      • Observations. The evaluator will spend time with the child and each parent to observe parent-child interactions.
      • Testing. In some cases, the evaluator may perform psychological testing of one or both parents.
      • Visits. The evaluator may make home visits, or classroom observations of the child.
      • Criminal background check. The evaluator will check the background of the parents and carefully review the court file.

It’s the evaluator’s duty to be unbiased and make decisions solely with the best interest of the child in mind.

Afterwards, they will present their recommendations on custody, visitation and time-sharing to the judge who will make the final decisions about the parenting plan.

Contact New Mexico family lawyers today

At New Mexico Financial and Family Law, we always have our client’s best interest at heart. With over twenty-five years of experience in family law, we understand how difficult divorce can be and do everything in our power to ease your burden.

If you are seeking a family law lawyer who provides quality legal service and has a tradition of integrity and legal and technical expertise, give us a call today at (505) 503-1637 or contact us online.