Our Santa Fe Divorce Lawyers often assist our clients in crafting parenting plans that prevent bitter child custody disputes and create stable lasting parenting arrangements. While many marital dissolutions and paternity actions are resolved through mediation or negotiation, sometimes parents simply cannot agree on how custody and visitation should be structured in a family law case. The initial step judges often employ in this situation is to appoint an attorney to represent the children. If the parties are not able to agree even when an attorney is appointed for the children, the judge might appoint a child custody evaluator to assist in developing a parenting plan that the judge may well adopt unchanged. Because judges rely heavily on the recommendations of a child custody evaluator, our Santa Fe Divorce Lawyers have provided some important tips about handling a custody evaluation.
Be Truthful about Parenting Issues:
While it may be tempting to try to tell the evaluator what you anticipate the evaluator wants to hear, the best approach is simply to be candid about your strengths and weaknesses as a parent. The answers you provide should be truthful and accurate reports of the history of your situation as well as the current situation.
Acknowledge the Value of Involvement of Both Parents:
The judge and evaluator will consider the degree to which each parent evidences a positive attitude toward the children having an ongoing relationship with both parents. When a parent indicates that he or she does not support the notion of the other parent having continuing contact and a positive relationship with the children, the evaluator will view this type of attitude negatively.
Provide Information and Documents Promptly:
The evaluator will often ask for documents like report cards, medical records, employment verification, and more. It is advisable to provide the requested information and documents promptly.
Offer an Objective Evenhanded Evaluation:
If you are asked to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of you and the other parent, you should be as objective and fair in this analysis as possible. Disparaging comments and harsh criticism of the other parent will not be viewed favorably.
Avoid Disregarding Custody and Visitation Orders:
Because the evaluator will be focusing on your reasonableness and willingness to comply with court orders, parents should comply with all orders of the judge regarding custody and visitation issues. If you have concerns about the safety of your children, you might wish to contact your Santa Fe Divorce Lawyer rather than deny access to the other parent.
Answers for Parents Facing a New Mexico Child Support Obligation
The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.
If you have questions about parenting plans, custody, and visitation, our New Mexico Child Custody Law Firm offers a free initial consultation so that we can evaluate your options. Jay Goodman & Associates offers a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque during which we discuss your situation and answer your questions. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 989-8117 to learn about your rights and options.
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