The Qualifications of a Custody Expert

With courts using custody experts more and more, parents need to make sure that their custody expert is qualified to make decisions that will have life changing consequences. Too often people simply rely on their attorney to tell them if an expert is qualified. A custody expert is there to gather facts, use specific methodology and make recommendations on how custody should be shared between parents. Too often, however, the expert isn’t qualified and the parents and child suffer the consequences. Parents need to realize that judges are not all knowing. Judges rely on these experts to help them understanding important psychological issues involved in a custody case. To that end, parents must be savvy about the experts involved and don’t allow the court to just rubber stamp the expert’s recommendations. Here are three very important questions to ask to find out if your custody expert is qualified to give an opinion in court regarding your child.

1. What is the educational background of the expert. While there are usually no legal requirements for a certain level of education, most experts tend to be psychologists. This is important because the higher the level of education the more likely the expert will abide by professional standards.

2. What is the expert’s professional associations. Does the professional belong to the American Psychological Association, for example. Certain professional associations have guidelines for conducting custody evaluations. You want and need to know that.

3. How many times has the expert actually testified in court. We’re not talking about how many evaluations they’ve done but actually testified. This provides a basis for knowing whether the expert can meet the stringent requirements of the law for having their testimony admissible in court.

Armed with these three questions you will have a firm foundation as to the expert’s qualifications. For more information on the qualifying of custody experts contact us at 505-880-8737 or email us