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San Diego: 2013: Court Order for Custody Evaluation

In San Diego, if you and your spouse are in a custody dispute, the Court may order a child custody evaluation to resolve the impasse or you as parents may agree. This is commonly referred to as a “730 evaluation” and is conducted by a licensed professional who qualifies under the San Diego Superior Court rules to perform such an evaluation. A custody evaluation may be required for an initial custody case, or if either parent requests a modification of custody terms in an old case or for a move away case. All cases are different and an analysis needs to be carefully made.

No State is the Same

If you cannot agree on a parenting plan and the Family Court Services Mediator in San Diego recommends and/or the San Diego Judge orders, then the parents must cooperate with the custody evaluation. Normally, this is not recommended due to the costs involved and the time period as these evaluations can take many months.

Different Methods

The child custody evaluation process in general consists of a number of meetings between parents, the child, and an evaluator who might be a psychologist or some other professional duly qualified in such issues. In San Diego, the evaluator will submit a report of findings {recommendations} to the Court and then be available to testify upon either parties request.

An Adult Decision

How the evaluation is used by the Court is up to each individual San Diego Judge. A Judge may also consider the children’s wishes on the parenting plan and study this aspect in considering the evaluation. The child’s wishes will only be considered when the child has reached a certain age and maturity level. A child’s wishes are not necessarily the best determining factor; so many courts prefer to consider what is in the best interest of the child.

Quality of Life

In some cases the evaluation might include a study of the parents themselves and any psychological or pathological issues the parents may have as well as any other related issues like alcohol or substance abuse, family support systems, and church affiliations among others. Another factor which will be reviewed in a custody evaluation is which parent can better provide for the child’s needs, which would include school support, an appropriate home and related issues. It is not about who will allow the child to attend more parties or play the most video games during the week, it is about having a solid role model. Regarding the parties and video games, this is exactly why this is not completely the child’s decision.


Child custody is a difficult issue to resolve which requires much care and deliberation. Sometimes an evaluation could take many months to complete as above and sometimes even over one year. The evaluator might investigate other factors like current counseling records of either parent, or both of them, or for the family as a whole. Other factors which will be examined are school records, criminal, and mental health records of anyone involved. The evidence and opinions of any other related parties will also be requested like companions or parents living with the family and anyone who has an influence on the child, or any other person the Court deems appropriate. Interviews might be conducted individually, or jointly, or with the whole family together. How the evaluation is conducted is at the discretion of the evaluator.

Proper Advice

If you are in the midst of a custody dispute which might necessitate a child custody evaluation, consult your family law attorney about what the process will entail and what you and your child will be subjected to. Your attorney will prepare you on how to conduct yourself and what to expect.

A Firm who Knows this Business

Doppelt and Forney, APLC is a San Diego family law firm skilled in all aspects of child custody. They are conversant with custody evaluations for which they prepare their clients with the necessary guidance.

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