Divorce Wizards

High Conflict Divorce Mediation

The 730 Interview

Jessica St. Clair, MS, MFT

This is our final article in our series about the 730 Evaluation. This one focuses on how to prepare yourself for the process. Here are some tips taken from Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings published in 2009 and available on the American Psychological Association website (Download PDF).

  • Cooperate with your evaluator. Remember the evaluation is to determine the what is in the best interest of your children.
  • Separate your marriage problems from your parenting concerns. Do not use this time to complain about the other person or process your divorce, rather verbalize what you think would be best for your child.
  • Don't look at the evaluation as a win/lose situation. Children need both parents and have the right to love them both.
  • Be open and honest with the evaluator.
  • Ask the evaluator for referrals: counseling, reading material, help and classes,
  • Keep your appointments, be on time.
  • Organize school, health and other information for the evaluation.
  • Make notes of questions you might have.

Of all these points, the one most difficult for parents is separating their divorce issues from the custody situation. Additionally, many enter this evaluation to control the percentage of time spent with each parent f or the purposes of determining the amount of child support payments. Remember that your child needs both parents and has a right to love both of you. Sometimes bringing a picture of your child and setting it on a nearby surface during conferences helps in keeping the focus on him or her.

Base your life as a parent on the following points and your child Will benefit it, not only as a result of the evaluation but from a healthy childhood.

  1. Parents have a responsibility to eliminate conflict between them from their child's life.
  2. Parents must support a relationship with the other parent to help their child do his best.
  3. Parents must provide a safe and secure home for their child, eliminating emotional turmoil and confusion due to the divorce.
  4. Parents must attend to their child's changing needs, to grow with them and recognize developmental stages.
  5. Parents must maintain continuity in their child's life between school, family, activities and friends.
  6. Parents must put their child's needs first, a characteristic of involved parents. They will provide strength and support to their kids in the wake of the tragedy of divorce.

Unfortunately, when our family dissolves, we cannot agree and must sometimes turn to evaluators to decide how to best raise our children. But before you enter into the 730 evaluation, consider the fact that most parents do not have to go to such extremes to provide for the present and future of their precious children. They find a way to agree and provide for their kids. The evaluation is gut-wrenching and expensive.

While sometimes necessary, it is the last resort for people who cannot act IN THE CHILD'S BEST INTEREST.

Jessica St. Clair | 714-568-1111 |
Jessica St. Clair, MS, MFT, is a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor with over thirty years experience working with families and children. She is a therapist, credentialed teacher and qualified child custody evaluator. Jessica has worked with hundreds of families to prepare them for custody evaluations as ordered by the Court. Jessica is a woman of great empathy and has helped many children cope with the turmoil divorce creates in their lives. Jessica practices in Newport Beach and Santa Ana, Ca. She is the leader of Planet Divorce and Parenting Wizards, both joint projects of Divorce Wizards, Inc. and Newport Beach Family and Psychological Services.

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