Birmingham Child Custody Evaluation Preparation

About Alabama Divorce & Family Law

Default Blog Image

Celebrity news sites have been recently reporting on the fact that Brooke Mueller, mother to Charlie Sheen’s twin sons, has lost custody of her children, at least temporarily, to Sheen’s other ex, Denise Richards, with whom the actor also has two daughters.

Our Birmingham child custody lawyers understand this particular case involves allegations of substance abuse, and the two women are friendly with one another. This latest custody arrangement was made with the approval of Sheen, who himself has had a well-documented history of substance abuse.

Many parents in Alabama have, for one reason or another, found themselves in a situation where they have lost custody of their children and are working hard to regain it or have had to fight to be granted sole custody.

Officially, Alabama favors a joint custody arrangement in which both parents play a central role in raising the child, though they may not share equal physical custody.

In some cases, the court may award sole legal custody to one parent over the other. That means that one parent is given the sole right to make important decisions regarding the child’s education, health, religion and general welfare.

Still, judges will consider a joint custody option before anything else, unless there is just cause to show why that would not be in the best interest of the child. In cases where neither parent is considered suitable, other relatives, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles, may be considered.

The court should also take into consideration the safety and well-being of the child, the capacity of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, social and educational needs and in certain cases, the preference of the child.

In cases where either you have requested or the court has deemed it necessary to hold a child custody evaluation, the court may appoint a custody evaluator who will meet with both parties and then make recommendations to the court based on those meetings.

Needless to say, there is a lot of pressure, and a lot of parents find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect.

As such, there are some general tips that will be helpful before you begin:

  • Heed the advice of your attorney. You have an attorney, right? That’s one of the most important first steps. He or she will be able to advise you of any specific things you will want to bear in mind. Listen to his or her advice.
  • Understand the role of the evaluator. This person is not your friend. She is not your counselor. She is not your advocate. All of that is true whether you were the one who requested the evaluation or not. Never assume that this person is on your side.
  • Don’t coach your child about what he or she should say. The evaluator will notice it, and it won’t bode well for you.
  • Be on time, dress neatly and be polite. Be careful not to get offended if the evaluator asks questions you may not like. He or she is just trying to gauge what is in the best interests of the child.
  • Don’t speak badly about your ex, unless the circumstances are extreme. You can be honest, but you want to show that you have the desire and ability to co-parent.
  • Make sure you have as many positive character references as possible.

If you are dealing with a child custody issue in Birmingham, Contact Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC Attorney Richard Perry at (205) 255-1155.