High conflict custody cases may involve a court ordered parenting plan evaluation to assist the court in determining an appropriate parenting plan for the parties. The focus of the parenting plan evaluation is the best interests of the child or children. The evaluation is performed by an impartial qualified mental health professional and may involve psychological testing of the parents and the children. If this testing is included, it must be conducted by a licensed psychologist, though the parenting plan evaluator may be another type of mental health professional.
The parenting plan evaluation is often a lengthy process but it is intended to result in a highly informative report for the parties and the court. The costs can be considerable, particularly if psychological testing is included. Depending on the relative financial resources of the parties, they may be ordered to equally share the cost, or the more financially capable party may be ordered to pay all or a larger portion of the costs of the evaluation.
If you or someone you know needs help in a high conflict custody case, please contact an experienced family law attorney.