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The Checklist to Prepare for a Child Custody, Parenting or Visitation Evaluation

Disputes over child custody, parenting time or visitation are often referred to third party professionals to investigation the matter fully and make a recommendation to the court.1 This process often leads to settlement and more streamlined trials. However, a court, who must use its discretion and make a child custody determination is not bound by an evaluator’s recommendations, but is likely to follow them.

Custody cases usually involve a great-deal of emotion and “he-said, she-said.” For this reason, the key point of the evaluator—making a best interests recommendation to the court--is difficult and time consuming. Evaluators are not perfect and there is a great deal a parent or third party going to a custody evaluation can do to make the evaluator’s task easier. This may result in a more complete evaluation, report to the court, and more comprehensive recommendations.

What follows are items that parties sometimes take to custody evaluations to aid the evaluator:

  • Letters from people who have observed the given party and their parenting with the child.
  • List of names and address of people the custody evaluator may want or need to speak with in the course of the process, including doctors, teachers, and babysitters.
  • Documents demonstrating key issues, which may range from photos to medical records.
  • Logs and other lists memorializing custody, parenting time and visitation issues that have arisen between the parties.
  • Formal materials related to the parties and/or children, including CPS reports, police reports, and counseling/therapy records.

We hope you find this blog post on information useful to understanding the process of a custody evaluation; and in doing so, aid the depth Indiana lawyers and judges go to make sure the children’s best interests are met. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., whose advocates practice across the state.


  1. A good general discussion of custody evaluations is set forth in a recent case of the Indiana Court of Appeals, In re the Guardianship of C.R., et al., ___ N.E.3d ___ (2014 WL 6686623).
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Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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Based in Indianapolis and founded in 1995, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. is a niche law firm focused on successfully dealing with the complexities of divorce, high-conflict child custody and family law. Known for their ability to solve extremely complex situations with high quality work and responsiveness, Ciyou & Dixon will guide you every step of the way. The family law attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. will help you precisely identify your objectives and the means to reach your desired result. In addition, this practice focus is augmented by the firm's other three core areas, namely appellate advocacy, civil practice, and firearms law. Life is uncertain. Be certain of your counselSM.

Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. of Indianapolis, Indiana, offers legal services for Indianapolis, Zionsville, Noblesville, Carmel, Avon, Anderson, Danville, Greenwood, Brownsburg, Geist, Fortville, McCordsville, Muncie, Greenfield, Westfield, Fort Wayne, Fishers, Bloomington, Lafayette, Marion County, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Allen County, Delaware County, Morgan County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Vigo County, Johnson County, Hancock County, and Tippecanoe County, Indiana.