If you are walking on eggshells because of an upcoming custody evaluation, you are not alone. Evaluations can be intimidating and have an air of unfairness because after all, one person’s opinion of parenting may be different from another’s. Also, the evaluator’s opinion can hold considerable power and influence a family court judge. Even more troubling, a situation that upsets a child could be taken out of context or blown out of proportion.
This is what possibly happened with a divorcing father who was in the midst of a nasty custody dispute. He was labeled to be unfit after he offered his five-year-old son two choices for dinner: anything but McDonalds or no dinner at all. The defiant kindergartener chose the latter and decided not to eat anything. The father then took the child back to his mother’s house.
Indeed, there are considerable details that have not been revealed the led to the evaluator’s decision, so it is unclear whether the father’s ultimatum (by itself) was the driving force behind her recommendation. Nevertheless, the situation exemplifies what can go wrong in an evaluation.
For one, it shows that parents who are not on the same page when it comes to diet and meal times have another thing that will be at issue during the evaluation process. Also, it shows the potential of what can happen when a parent does not consult an experienced family law attorney before going through the process. A lawyer can help you understand the do’s and don’ts of responding to an evaluator’s questions so that your statements and actions reflect child-focused decision-making.
Source: HuffingtonPost.com, “Dad branded unfit parent for refusing to take son to McDonalds,” Jennifer Peltz, November 8, 2013