What Parents Need to Know About Child Custody Evaluations In Illinois

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled---2024-03-04T124353.342.jpgWhen parents go through a divorce or need to address child custody issues in other family law cases, the well-being of their children is the most important factor to consider. Child custody evaluations can play a pivotal role in these legal proceedings, and an evaluator’s assessments may influence the court's decisions regarding parenting time and responsibilities. If you need to work with a custody evaluator during your divorce or family law case, an experienced attorney can provide the guidance and representation you need.

What Are Child Custody Evaluations?

Child custody evaluations are assessments conducted by mental health professionals to provide the court with a comprehensive understanding of the family dynamics. Their reports and opinions can help determine what would be in the best interests of the child. These evaluations are particularly common in contentious divorce or child custody cases where parents cannot agree on the best arrangements for their children.

When Are Custody Evaluators Appointed?

In Illinois, a judge may order a child custody evaluation in several circumstances, including:

  • High-conflict divorce cases where parents cannot agree on custody or visitation.

  • Situations where there are concerns about a child's well-being or safety.

  • Cases involving allegations of substance abuse, domestic violence, or mental health issues.

  • Whenever the court deems it necessary to gain a clearer picture of the family's situation to make an informed decision about the child's best interests.

The Evaluation Process

The process of a child custody evaluation typically involves several steps to ensure that an evaluator can make a thorough and unbiased assessment of a family’s situation:

Initial Consultation

The evaluator will meet with both parents, either together or separately, to explain the process, gather preliminary information, and address any questions or concerns.

Interviews and Observations

The evaluator will conduct in-depth interviews with each parent, focusing on their perspectives on parenting, the needs of the child, and the desired custody arrangements. Children may also be interviewed, depending on their age and maturity, to understand their feelings and preferences. An evaluator may visit the parents’ homes and observe parent-child interactions to determine whether each parent will be able to meet their children’s ongoing needs.

Gathering Additional Information

Evaluators may review relevant documents such as school records, medical reports, and legal documents related to the custody case. Interviews with other significant figures, such as teachers, healthcare providers, and extended family members, may also be conducted to gather additional insights.

Psychological Testing

In some cases, psychological assessments of the parents or children might be conducted to identify any relevant psychological issues or personality traits.

Report and Recommendation

The evaluator will compile their findings into a detailed report, offering insights and recommendations regarding the custody arrangements that will serve the children's best interests. This report is submitted to the court, and it may influence the judge's decision on custody matters. During litigation, the evaluator may be called as a witness, and they can be questioned and cross-examined by each parent’s attorney.

Navigating the Evaluation with Legal Support

Undergoing a child custody evaluation can be stressful for parents and children alike. However, with the support of a knowledgeable attorney, you can navigate this process more effectively. A legal professional can help you understand the evaluation process, prepare for interviews and assessments, and advocate for your interests and those of your child.

Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney

A child custody evaluation can be stressful, and you may be concerned about what steps you can take to protect your parental rights and ensure that you will be able to provide for your children’s needs in the future. In these situations, a skilled attorney can provide invaluable guidance. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, our Wheaton child custody lawyers understand the intricacies of family law in Illinois, and we can guide you through the evaluation process, helping you achieve a positive outcome to your case. Contact us today at 630-665-7300 to arrange a consultation.

Recent Blog Posts


250 W. River Drive, Unit 2A
St. Charles, IL 60174
Evening and weekend hours by appointment.

From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

Make a Payment
© 2024 Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC | 1737 South Naperville Road, Suite 100, Wheaton, IL 60189 | 630-665-7300
Kane County | Disclaimer Privacy Policy | Resources Sitemap
Take me to top
Giving Back
Contact Us
Giving Back
Contact Us

In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree