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GAYLE ZIEMAN, Ph.D.
Child, Family and School Psychologist
Girard-Indian School Professional Building
2741 Indian School Road, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATION
FULL FAMILY CONSULTATIONS
A Child Custody Evaluation includes all procedures of a Full-Family Consultation and
adds numerous beneficial data collection and reporting features. In many legal cases
the added features can be important in establishing for the Court the best interests
of the children. A Child Custody Evaluation is a more thorough, in-depth process
and provides conclusions and recommendations which are more defensible in court
I. Data Collection Steps and Processes Added In A Child
II. Report and Recommendation Additions In A Child Custody Evaluation
- With Each Parent
All procedures done in a Full Family Consultation are completed, plus the
- If communication patterns between the parents are unclear, then the parents are
interviewed together to assess their future ability to communicate and cooperate
- Testing is done with each parent. Each must complete extensive psychological
testing (approximately 2 hr.) to screen for mental health issues which may impact parenting.
- With Each Child
All procedures done in a Full-Family Consultation are completed plus the following:
- Each parent household is visited (approx. 1.5 hours). This home observation
allows the psychologist to get to know the child(ren) and to observe the family in
structured, psychologist-specific activities. For families living outside central
New Mexico, other arrangements for meeting the child(ren) and observing the family
in structured, psychologist-specific activities are made.
- With Each Stepparent Figure (or other adult frequently in a parent’s home)
- Testing is done. Each adult must complete extensive psychological testing to
screen for mental health issues which may impact parenting
- If the stepparent has children from a previous relationship, their ex-partner
from that relationship becomes a collateral source for information about their parenting.
- Collateral Sources
- In a Child Custody Evaluation a broad set of relevant outside sources, rather than
the limited set in a Full-Family Consultation, may be contacted for telephone interviewing.
In a Full-Family Consultation the maximum number of sources allowed is one half the
number of family members (parent figures + children) in the consultation, while in
a Child Custody Evaluation that number is three times as many (1.5 times the number
of family members). For example, an assessment of 5 family members (2 parents, 1
stepparent, and 2 children) could have up to 8 sources in an Evaluation, but only
3 in a Consultation
- Up to 150 pages of documents, rather than just 50 in the Full-Family Consultation,
can be reviewed as a part of a Child Custody Evaluation. Typical documents to review
are: Court orders, medical records, police reports, school reports, and emails
or text message between parents.
II. Fee Comparisons
- Psychological Report
The report in a Child Custody Evaluation is much more in-depth than from a
Full-Family Consultation. The Evaluation report is typically two to three times as
long because it provides a detailed discussion of the psychological findings
beyond the conclusions written in a Consultation report.
- Recommended Parenting Plan
After a Child Custody Evaluation a full parenting plan ready for adoption by the Court
and attachment to a court order is provided (usually 4-6 pages). This plan is
very detailed with provisions for all major areas typically found in court-ordered
parenting plans. After a Full-Family Consultation directives and guidelines for
a future parenting plan are given, but not a fully detailed, written-out plan
ready for attachment to a court order.
- In both Full-Family Consultations and Child Custody Evaluations the standard fees
follow a flat rate plan:
| || Custody Eval
|| Family Consult
| || || |
|Each Parent ||$2200 ||$1000
|Each Stepparent Figure ||$1100
|Infants/Preschoolers || $1600
|Children (5 to 11) || $1900
|Pre-Teens/Adolescents || $2200
| || ||
- A Child Custody Evaluation can bring additional home observation fees if a parent
lives in central New Mexico but outside Albuquerque (such as in Los Lunas, Rio Rancho,
Bernalillo, or Santa Fe). These fees cover added driving costs and time.
In either type of psychological assessment, 50% of each parent’s financial responsible
portion is due at the first appointment and the remaining 50% is due at the
conclusion of the data collection.
II. IV. After consultation of Evaluation Completion
If meetings, depositions, or a court appearance are needed, they are billed the same for
either a Consultation or an Evaluation.
All information effective as of 15 March 2013.
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