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. The usual cost of the evaluation is $4500 per parent, $400 per step-parent (or equivalent) and $600 per child evaluated, but this is only an estimate, and the cost can be greatly affected by the amount of written material to be reviewed and delays in payment. 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.