One of the most basic forms of bias is called “anchoring.” In this situation, the child custody evaluator uses initial judgments and preliminary conclusions to make their decisions. This could hurt the outcome seeing as information that is gathered later, could be excluded or left out.
The major problem with anchoring, is it can cast judgement over a parent using inaccurate information. Lastly, this bias can cost your case dearly if uncovered in court.
In a child custody evaluation, it is important for the evaluator to take an equal amount of information from both parents. Although, that may be realistically difficult to do, the chance for unbalanced information must be avoided.
An example of this would be, an evaluator spent roughy 50 face-to-face hours with one parent, but only spent about 30 with the other. As a parent or an attorney on the case, this could potentially hurt your case and cost you more time and money.
Typically, strong evaluators with experience will typically keep a log of hours spent with each parent to prevent favoritism or the potential for receiving unbalanced information.
This bias occurs when incorrect conclusions are made based on evidence. For example, an evaluator may report that a mother is failing to meet the educational needs of her child, but in reality, her child has a severe learning disorder that has not be diagnosed or treated.
This clinical bias is typically made when the evaluator fails to review the entire picture (including environment, outside effects, and stressors) in a given case. As you can see from the example, this is a bias that could potentially cost your share of custody in a case.
Evaluator’s Personal Bias.
All too commonly evaluators will place their own judgements and personal biases in their work. For example, an evaluator who believe mother’s should have primary custody despite unhealthy circumstances, gives an abusive mother full custody. Child custody evaluators should always remain unbiased and neutral in their decision making, regardless of their own beliefs and values.
Evaluators Lack of Training.
When seeking for an evaluator to conduct the child custody evaluation, it is always so important to inquire about the evaluator’s training and continuing education! I don’t think we can stress tho enough! Keep in mind that a child custody evaluation is very time consuming and costly, this means that you should seek out a professional to do things the right way, the first time.
This can be done by requesting the evaluator’s CV and reviewing their most recent trainings and continuing education on child welfare, family law, or child custody evaluations.
Overall there are many things that can contribute to a poor child custody evaluation. If you aren’t sure your evaluation was done properly, give us a call today for a consultation.