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What to Do If You Get A “Negative” Custody Report

Indiana trial court judges are charged with the difficult task of making child custody decisions in the children’s best interests. This is daunting in contested divorce cases as the actual parents cannot agree to what is best for their own children.

To assist them, judges on their own or with request of an attorney, appoint trained individuals ranging from trained attorneys to clinical psychologists to make custody and parenting recommendations. Sometimes the results are unexpected and unfavorable for a parent.

This is not the end or the decision of the court. Courts are not bound by custody recommendations and may reject them. The evidence may show differently.

There are three ways this is typically achieved. First, and most common is by looking at the controlling basis of the decision and determining if it is accurate (i.e., one parent has an anger issue). If so, get the parent treatment to illustrate this is in balance and a different custody arrangement is appropriate, such as joint custody.

Second, if the report itself is inaccurate in a significant way, the evaluator may be requested to see the parents again and make an addendum to the report and may revise his or her recommendations.

Third, another custody evaluation may be necessary and requested because of a complex psychosocial dynamic highlighted in the first report. This may, in fact, result in a different conclusion. Related a second evaluator may be employed to review the report to see if it is outside of the protocols for the profession in making recommendations.

Ultimately, an unfavorable custody evaluation is not the necessary decision of the trial court and with the right focus, facts and legal tools may be overcome. This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. This is for general informational purposes and is not a solicitation for services and should be treated as an advertisement. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice domestic relations through the State of Indiana.

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