A 730 evaluation, also known as a child custody evaluation, is an examination into the mental health and parenting styles of one or both of the parents in a custody case. While a judge is the one that can order this evaluation, the other parent will be able to request the evaluation.
Best Interests of the Child Paramount to Custody
There may be some instances where the child's best interests are called into question and the court needs to determine whether the child is in the proper care. Custody and time-sharing schedules can be altered based on the findings of this evaluation.
Some reasons why a 730 evaluation may be necessary include:
- Child abuse concerns
- Substance abuse problems
- Mental health issues
- One parent objects to the other parents move out of state
- Presence of questionable parenting practices
- Inability to agree on a time-sharing arrangement
- Concerns about the child's general upbringing
In order to address these concerns, interviews, observations, testing, a review of outside documents, and home visits will take place and reviewed by evaluators.
The evaluation will be completed by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and family therapists. They will compile a report based on their findings and submit it to the court for review. If both parties accept the report, it can be used as evidence. If one parent disagrees with the findings, they are able to rebut the findings by bringing in another professional to review the case.
The court seeks to involve both of the parents in the life of their child, but will only do so if this is in the child's best interests. If the evaluation reveals a number of characteristics that lead the court to believe the child would be best suited elsewhere, the custody and time-sharing agreements can be amended to reflect this information.