Divorce Wizards

High Conflict Divorce Mediation

Top Ten Ways to Prepare for a 730 Custody Evaluation

CA Custody Evaluation - Get Ready!

Jessica St. Clair, MS, MFT

The 730 Evaluation

Child Custody And The Courts In California

About The 730 Evaluation
Testing For The 730 Evaluation
The 730 Interview

1. Compile a realistic assessment:

  • Of you: your attitude and reasons for requesting an evaluation
  • Of your child: what are your child's needs? Familiarize yourself with your child's developmental stage and current and future needs. Become familiar with "stage of life" needs and evaluate how you can fit into your child's life.
  • Of your situation: why the divorce, how can you work as a parenting team and what would make that easier

2. Face facts: What is the best custody arrangement you can expect given the laws of your state? In California for example, it is 50%-50% unless there is a good reason to have it otherwise.

And, by the way, most evaluators will find some arrangement that is about the same as 50/50.

3. Separate personal from practical: if this is a personal attack on your ex, you will spend thousands of dollars to get 50/50 custody. The only effectiveness of your attack will be to waste the ex's money along with yours.

4. Interview the evaluator: As for references, ask to see a copy of a previous evaluation, ask the tests that evaluator will use and do not settle for a "mini-evaluation" that does not utilize test instruments.

5. Find out what your recourse is if you disagree with the evaluator's findings.

6. Involve a coach, mediator or manager as you go through the process to help you organize your information and presentation of your view of the situation

7. Create a budget: Most lawyers and evaluators will produce results only when the bottom line is in sight. In the 730-evaluation process; you are paying a lawyer and an evaluator and that costs thousands of dollars.

8. Maintain perspective: Stay in touch with a professional custody case manager to remain focused on the most important issues.

9. Make your needs clear at the onset. Detail exactly what you require from this evaluation. Ask for a specific and detailed custody and visitation plan as part of the recommendations.

10. Consider a Special Master instead of an evaluator, someone who will evaluate over the period of six months or a year instead of a quick snapshot of everyone on their best behavior. A Special Master may be appointed by the Judge or Comissioner in your case.

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. You may reach Jessica St. Clair at 714-568-1111 or

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