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During a case involving custody, if a dispute over custody arises or if the parents have serious concerns about the other party’s ability to parent, a custody evaluation may be necessary. Custody evaluations, or parenting evaluations as they are sometimes called, are often court-appointed, but can also be requested by either party.

Good Information is Critical to the Process

Custody evaluations are performed by mental health experts. Typically, the evaluation begins with the evaluator gathering information from both parties. The evaluator will schedule visits where they will see each party interact with the children. He will take time to discuss and observe your parenting in an effort to give the court an “up close and personal” look at both parties as parents. He will evaluate the interactions based off of the information they have received and their visits.

Once the visits are completed, he will make a recommendation to the court for a custody, visitation, or parenting plan. Although the evaluators’ report does not necessarily decide the outcome of the case, it can have a significant impact on the final decision.

Doing What is Best for Children

The purpose of a custody evaluation is to get feedback from a third party relating to concerns of the children involved in the case. The evaluation should be seen as an opportunity. When performing a custody evaluation, the evaluator has a responsibility to act in the childrens’ best interests.

Though evaluations can be a helpful tool, it’s important to understand it’s a detailed process that can be time consuming and expensive. Typically, the evaluator will require a retainer to begin work on your case, generally, this is split between the parties.

At Burton Law, we have extensive experience helping our clients through custody evaluations. We understand the process and can help prepare you and guide you through your evaluation. Call us today for a consultation.


Peter is one of the top up-and-coming young lawyers in the state. Raised in Layton, Utah, Peter was named by the Standard-Examiner as among the top 2% of Utah’s high school seniors.

In addition to his current practice, Peter’s practical experience includes serving as extern corporate counsel for Shiseido, one of the world’s largest cosmetic corporations, and clerking for federal criminal appellate counsel. He has extensive experience in family law matters.

He enjoys feeling like he has made a difference helping his clients with their domestic case needs.

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