Designed to provide uniformity and promote better practices for those who conduct custody evaluations in all jurisdictions. These Standards also aid professionals in understanding the necessary training, skill and experience required in conducting custody evaluations. (Freely available online and available for purchase in hard copy.)
Every jurisdiction in the United States has established legal standards for the determination of child custody; few states have rules or laws which govern how child custody evaluations are conducted. In large urban areas where mental health professionals are plentiful, these evaluations are typically completed by licensed psychologists who have stated competencies in child development and custody evaluation. However, this committee recognized the fact that in the rest of the country, where mental health professionals are scarce and economic resources limited, these evaluations may sometimes be conducted by professionals (which may include attorneys) without training in custody evaluations and court appointed lay persons functioning as Guardians ad Litem and under the mantel of various ADR methodologies. It was the intent of the committee that these Standards would aid professionals in understanding the necessary training, skill and experience required in conducting custody evaluations. It was also the intent of the committee that the various courts would utilize these Standards in their selection of custody evaluators.
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