a full range of psychological and educational testing.
We help identify:
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
- Specific Learning Disabilities;
- Emotional Disorders;
- Anxiety Disorders;
- Gifted Testing; and others
Our typical SLD battery usually
includes a one-hour developmental history and interview.
Actual testing typically takes four to five hours
whereas, gifted testing can range from 30 minutes to two
and a half hours depending on the test.
Many parents seek evaluations for
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). We
perform a number of assessments that help identify
behaviors that are consistent with AD/HD. We also
perform a Continuous Performance Test that helps
identify attention problems from a processing
perspective. It is important to understand that symptoms
of AD/HD can be associated with a number of other
physical disorders beside AD/HD. A written comprehensive report is
prepared which includes specific recommendations and
interventions that can facilitate your understanding of
the individual's learning style, and educational needs. We will work with your child's school and
medical doctor closely in order to insure a correct
diagnosis and develop the appropriate treatment plan.
PARENTING PLAN & TIME SHARING
EVALUATIONS (FORMERLY REFERRED TO AS CHILD CUSTODY
parents divorce the final divorce agreement , Marital
Settlement Agreement (MSA), must
establish plans for
parental responsibility, time sharing and
access to the children, among other issues. A
parenting plan is usually submitted to the court for
parents disagree about timesharing, a judge will decide the
issues of who
is responsible for what parenting tasks and when each parent
will be with the
child. In order to help a judge to decide these issues
they may require the family to participate in a parenting
plan and timesharing (i.e., a child custody) evaluation .
evaluations provide detailed information about the family
and helps a judge
decide what arrangements will be in the best interests of
the child or children. It is
helpful to understand the evaluation process. This
information can be helpful in
preparing to participate in this important process.
What is a parenting plan & time sharing evaluation?
Parenting Plan & Time Sharing Evaluation is:
An objective assessment of the needs of the children
An objective assessment of each parent's ability to meet
their children’s needs
assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each
Designed to help the family make positive adjustments to
Attentive to past events, present resources and future
needs of the family
Focused on the “best interests” of
Parenting Plan & Timesharing Evaluation Does Not:
What Happens In A Parenting Plan & Timesharing Evaluation?
an evaluation will include a series of
interviews. Parents should expect to talk to an evaluator
alone, with the other parent and with the children. An
evaluator will give each parent the opportunity to present
their issues and concerns regarding the children as well as
concerns regarding each other. Conferences with both parents
allow the evaluator the opportunity to assess parents’
capacity to co-parent.
evaluator will probably also schedule joint interviews with
each parent and the children as well as with the children
alone, depending on their ages. These meetings will allow
evaluator to observe the relationships between family
evaluations require that both parents be involved in the
process. Be cautious of taking the children to their own
separate evaluator. Courts may consider these evaluations
to be incomplete. One sided evaluations may be a
duplication of time and money and may subject are children
to added stress.
The evaluator may request your written consent to obtain
school and health records, social service and police
information and any other documents which contribute to the
complete understanding of the family. The evaluator may
wish to talk with some of these people in order to
understand how others see the issues.
Written Tests and Psychological Evaluations:
Psychological testing may be part of the evaluation
especially when information about emotional and mental
status of each party or that of the children would be
helpful to the judge. The evaluator will talk with each
parent and may administer several assessments that provide
additional data for the report.
Who Is The Custody Evaluator?
evaluator is usually a mental health
professional who is in a professional and private practice
or employed by an agency contracted to provide evaluation
services for the court. Evaluators have to be trained in
the divorce process and its effects on families, as well as
child development issues and the needs of children. The
evaluator’s job is to assist the court to
determining the legal and physical custody of the children.
The evaluator will make an objective assessment of the
needs of children.
Who Can Do Such
It is certainly understood that the decision
of who conducts a parenting play/timesharing evaluation is
so important. The best interests of the children who are
exposed to high conflict divorces are truly at stake. Among
the professions who are, by statute, legally permitted to
conduct such evaluations are Licensed: Mental Health
Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Clinical Social
Workers, Psychologists and School Psychologists, among
others. For a more detailed discussion of who may conduct
such evaluation go to
How Can One Prepare For The Evaluation?
with the evaluator. They are there to help the family
and the judge to decide on what will be in the best
interests of the children.
Separate marriage problems from parenting concerns.
There may still be a lot of hurt and anger toward the
other parent, however, marital issues may not be
relevant to timesharing issues.
look at the custody evaluation process as a “win/lose”
situation. This is a good time to try to put the past
behind and focus on the future.
can help their children by being open and honest with
evaluator can be a resource of information. Ask about
reading material, parent education classes, counseling
and other help.
school, health and other information that will be
notes of the questions that should be asked of the
Will The Children Be Interviewed?
Evaluators routinely interview and observe
children. It is best if this can be done in a comfortable
and not threatening environment. The evaluator understands
that children may be experiencing a range of feelings about
the divorce. Depending on the ages of the children, the
evaluator may have children participate in structured play,
draw pictures or tell stories in order to talk about their
Parents often want to know, “will the evaluator ask my
children where they want to live?” Children’s thoughts,
feelings, and experiences are important. However, the
evaluator typically will not directly ask children to choose between parents.
This would not be fair to the children and only keeps them
in the middle of the dispute.
What Happens To The Information?
custody evaluators will prepare a written report of their
assessment. If the case goes to trial, the judge or the
lawyers may call the evaluator to be present to explain the
report and their findings. The report is intended to give
the judge a clear picture of the family and to provide
information about how the children’s needs can best be
addressed. Most evaluators will not make recommendations
unless they have seen both parents and the children or have
incorporated an evaluation from another professional who has
seen the other parent when one parent is living too far away
to participate in the evaluation. Rules vary as to who has
access to the report. The report may be available to both
parents or maybe restricted to the judge and attorneys. In
most jurisdictions it is considered a confidential document
and can be ordered sealed by the court.
What Does The Custody Evaluation Cost?
your attorney or the judge about your responsibility to pay
for the evaluation. Costs vary from region to region. Most
professionals charge by the hour, with a retainer given in
advance. Sometimes the costs are divided between the
What Does Best Interests Mean?
courts and professional associations require that parental
responsibility and timesharing decisions use the “best
interests” standard. Defining this term is a complex matter
and definitions may vary. However “best interests”
generally means that:
have a right to live with both parents and to have
access to each parent without interference
children benefit from an absence of conflict between the
parents children do better if parents cooperate and work
need to be safe, secure and protected from physical,
emotional and sexual abuse
of different ages have different needs. A two-year old
child may not need the same schedule as a ten-year old
child. The evaluator will consider children’s
specific needs as well as their adjustment to home,
school and social environments
need continuity. Parenting schedules should be followed
so the children can depend on and look toward the time
with each parent
do best when parents support a relationship with the
other parent. Don’t ask children to choose between
you are in need of an evaluation, please call our
office and we will happy to discuss the process further with