A high conflict child custody matter arises when the parents cannot agree on most issues affecting child/children. When parents are diametrically opposed to each other’s parenting style, values and way of dealing with children, this can place an extraordinary burden upon the child/children of the marriage. This is a particularly unhealthy situation for your child/children.
When high conflict custody cases are presented to the divorce/family law courts, generally a child custody evaluation is ordered. This can take the form of a parenting conference or child custody evaluation performed by a physiological or other mental health expert. The evaluation results in a report to the divorce/family law court detailing the findings by the mental health professional.
A parenting conference is scheduled when the Court feels that the inclusion of a mental health or physiological professional can assist the parties in reaching a mediated agreement between them. The goal is to provide a fair and neutral negotiation setting for the parents. The parenting conference is conducted under the auspices of the divorce/family law court. Usually the mental health or physiological expert will interview the parents and the children. Occasionally, other influential people in the children’s lives are also interviewed. If the parenting conference is unsuccessful and does not produce an agreement, the parenting conference officer makes a report to the court which contains recommendations based upon their factual findings.
A child custody evaluation is similar to a parenting conference in many ways. One major difference is the psychological or mental heath expert is a private individual that spends more time in their evaluation. The court has lists of experts that are pre-approved and authorized to conduct child custody evaluations. This type of custody evaluation is usually more intensive and oftentimes involves more detailed interviewing with the parents, children and other related people such as teachers, step-parents and the like. The court can order a private custody evaluation and apportion the costs of the evaluation between the parents. These evaluations usually cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000.
They can assist you in understanding the nature of a parenting conference or private child custody evaluation so as to present your position in the best possible light.