Child custody evaluations are ordered by the Court when parents cannot agree on a custody and/or parent-time arrangement that is in the best interests of the children.
For custody and parent-time evaluations, I require a $2000 retainer to begin. When that amount is exhausted, I require subsequent retainers to keep the account balance with a $500 credit at billing times. I am usually able to begin the evaluation within 2 weeks of receiving the retainer and an order signed by the judge. I am usually able to complete the evaluation within 4 months if the parties are flexible about scheduling and the financial policies are followed.
Cost: I charge $165/hr for my time working on the evaluation. My evaluations tend to take around 100 hours of work in the data collections phase. The rough breakdown of time by activity is:
7% Creating interview questions from questionnaires
18% conducting parent interviews
3% each step parent interviews
2% each for child interviews
12% scoring/interpreting testing
3% each, local home visits
45% reviewing and summarizing documents, interviewing collaterals, summarizing all collected data.
This estimate does not cover the cost of travel if one or both parties live outside of the local area. This estimate covers the “data collection” phase of the evaluation through the required “4-903” settlement conference. If the parties do not settle and a report is requested, it will require a separate $2000 retainer and usually requires 20-25 hours to write.
A description of my typical procedures, details of consent and financial requirements can be found in PDF format for viewing and printing here: Custody Fee and Consent
I am often asked “what should we tell the children about the custody/parent-time evaluation? Here is a sample description.
I am also available to review and critique custody/parent-time evaluations done by others. Click here for more information.