It’s very possible, especially when you have a custody study, because when you have a custody study, the evaluator has taken, typically on a good day, four months to get the evaluation completed. On a bad day, it can take much longer than that because the evaluator is so booked up that things go much slower than expected. In any event, the evaluator has done an in-depth look into the family. Sometimes the evaluator has done psychological testing on the parent, the evaluator has typically met with each parent separately for several sessions and heard everything about the family and the children that that parent wanted the evaluator to know.
The evaluator sometimes goes to the home of each parent and watches the parent interact with their children in the home. Other times the children come to the evaluator’s office and the evaluator watches the children interacting with each of their parents in the evaluator’s office. Then the evaluator will talk to the children separately in private and then, of course, talk to all the third parties.
With all of that information, the evaluator will make a recommendation, and because courts listen to those recommendations so strongly and are almost always going to follow the recommendation of a custody evaluator, most times that will settle the case. Whatever the evaluator says is the recommendation, the parents normally are going to agree with that recommendation and settle their case and not go to trial.
Laura Schantz is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in Beaverton, Oregon. To learn more about Laura Schantz and her firm, Schantz Law P.C., visit www.oregondivorceattorney.com.