There may be times during the course of making decisions about children that mental health evaluations are necessary. In California, child custody determinations are made with the children’s best interests in mind. In order to find what those best interests are, a family court judge may order what are known as 730 evaluations. A parent or court mediator can also request this type of evaluation.
Why 730 evaluations might ordered
There are a number of reasons a family court judge might order a 730 evaluation. Here are some of them:
- The parenting is questionable;
- Domestic violence is an issue;
- The child has special needs;
- Mental illness;
- There is a history of substance abuse;
- A parent wants to move the child out of state.
In these instances, evaluations can be made by licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage therapists or family therapists. These professionals must be registered with the state and must have completed necessary training. Full evaluations could take weeks or even months since they can include interviewing children, parents and others pertinent to each case.
Preparing for an evaluation
- There are things for parents to keep in mind when facing a 730 evaluation:
- Have legal guidance and advice;
- Show that children are the priority;
- Try not to show negativity toward the other parent;
- Be honest;
- Ask questions if something is unclear;
- Know strengths and weaknesses.
A California parent who needs to prepare for a 730 evaluation regarding child custody would benefit from the advice and guidance of a lawyer. These types of evaluations can added an extra level of an already complex area of family law. An attorney may be able to help his or her client through the entire process.