730 Custody Evaluation

Has a Child Custody Evaluation “730 Evaluation” been ordered by your California Family Court Judge, and are you completely in the dark as to what it is? You are not alone. Often times in contested custody proceedings a Judge may appoint a child custody evaluator to conduct a child custody evaluation in cases where the court determines it is in the best interests of the child or children. A 730 Custody Evaluation looks into the mental health and parenting practices of one or both of the parents. Ultimately, custody and visitation orders are often based on the findings of these evaluations.

In some cases a “Mini-Evaluation” or “Focused-Issue Evaluation” may be ordered to help speed things up, since a thorough evaluation can take some time or simply to focus on one specific issue.

The job of the evaluator is to learn about the family so he or she can gain enough insight to bring an educated evaluation to the court. The process can include any of the following: (1) Interview of each parent, family members, and other third-parties, (2) Parent-child observation, (3) Psychological testing, (4) Review of reports and other documents, and (5) Home visits.

After the evaluation is complete the evaluator makes recommendations on custody, visitation, and the best interest of the child or children, which are all outlined in the final 730 report. This final report is filed with the court 10 days before the hearing and made available to all parties involved. Although the evaluator does offer input and insight into the child’s custody and care, it is ultimately the California Judge that makes the decision.