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JaneG, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 5
Experience:  I am a San Francisco based Family Law attorney and mediator experienced in all aspects of Family Law.
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Can you tell me when a custody evaluation is necessary. We

Customer Question

Can you tell me when a custody evaluation is necessary. We have a messy situation and the Guardian ad litem wants therapy but I do not feel it is enough.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  JaneG replied 4 years ago.

JaneG :

Whether or not a custody evaluation is appropriate depends on a variety of factors--what are the issues? what would be the purpose of the evaluation? and who would pay for it? Could you

JaneG :

Whether or not a custody evaluation is appropriate depends on a variety of factors--what are the issues? what would be the purpose of the evaluation? and who would pay for it? Could you give me some more specifics?

JaneG :

I'd like to continue to discuss this with you if you are available. Please let me know. Thank you.

Customer :

Well the specifics are that the situation is a mess. My ex has custody of my kids in mostly because he drew up a fraudulent report that said I was physically and mentally abusive to my kids. He even alleged that I was a potential murder of my kids. He wrote this in the name of our treating psychologist in miami and the GAL took it at face value. She restricted my visits with my children. She wanted to have me have supervised visitation and I just said no. The more ominous problem is that my ex has little conscience. I fully believe that he set up the kids to make false allegations against me so I look like the guilty party which I am not. Again the GAl in the case never investigated anything. She took his work and the children's word. So, I am dealing with kids that have been abused and brainwashed. I can find out shortly what exact allegations they made. I do not even know yet.

Customer :

This case is very complex and I know practitioners can take allegations at face value. The GAL does not feel a custody eval is necessary but I do not know how I am going to get to the bottom of this. I have been a loving mother to my kids all my life but if I can't solve this with someone, I plan on walking away from them because I have been through more abuse than I can take.

JaneG : You are in a very difficult situation and my heart goes out to you. It's important that all children have a relationship with both parents. I would suggest that the first step is reconsider your rejection of supervised visitation. I know how hard it must be to think of seeing your kids with someone else watching everything you say or do. But the important thing is that you will be seeing your children. Hopefully, that would evolve into unsupervised visitation. But this will require one step at a time. A custody evaluation might certainly be appropriate. But unless the court orders it, both parents have to agree to it. And then the question is the cost. These can run into thousands of dollars.
JaneG : I strongly suggest you first start seeing the children, even in the supervised context. That would demonstrate that you have nothing to fear re having someone observe you with your children. You can demonstrate that you are a warm, loving parent. I hope this helps.
Customer :

Unfortunately I just can't. I am not afraid of having someone look over me. What I am concerned about is the children seeing me like this. I just feel it sends the signal that I am unfit which has been hammered down their throats by their father. I have done nothing to warrant supervision other than the here say of my ex and my kids. I have done nothing. If at the end of the hearing after everything is presented and the judge insists I will probably take an appeal. There has to be a very very good reason to subject me to this humiliation and the kids, there is no reason other than the GAL covering herself. I cannot pay to see my own kids. The only thing I would consider is a public not for profit agency. The reason being is that I have just seen too many conflicts of interest in the court. When any one refers work, there is a monetary conflict and the court has no checks and balances in place. Plus, the supervision is expensive. Four hours with my kids and that's 360.00 plus their travel cost, another 100.00. So each visit is about 500.00. If I get beaten down in the courts and have to subject myself to this, is there any way to hire out a more of a public servant type? Also, how do I get any parameters around how long this goes on?

Customer :

The gal will not spell this out. Is it 5x, 5 months, a year, till my kids are 18? She believe I think that I have physically abused my kids. If I were the GAL I would make it until 18!

JaneG : I truly believe that the children seeing you, regardless of the situation, is better for the children than not seeing you at all. I don't know the situation where you are re low cost alternatives for supervision. In terms of timing re how long this goes is always difficult to get specifics because no one wants to commit to something in the future. You have a tough road ahead. I can only urge you to keep focused one your children. I hope this helps.

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