Parental Competency Evaluations

Parental Competency Evaluations are usually requested in divorce cases to determine custody of children. The evaluation may include interviews, written or computerized tests and other assessment tools to help the courts determine which parents receive custody of minor children.

The process includes:

  • Parenting History Survey. Parents are asked to complete a lengthy questionnaire regarding their parenting history. Answers and explanations to questions on this survey can set the tone for the custody evaluation.
  • Supporting Information. Parents are asked to gather information that can support their case. A counselor can provide lists of possible paperwork to gather including tax forms, financial documents and so forth. Information should support key points in the evaluation.
  • Interviews. An evaluator will interview both parents and discuss parenting issues. Both parents will have the opportunity to share concerns, strengths and weaknesses with the evaluator. Parents are expected to provide honest, complete and non-attacking answers during this interview.
  • Testing. Often, therapists will administer a variety of psychological tests and submit the results and reports as part of a parental competency evaluation. These tests can pinpoint issues or concerns that need further consideration.
  • Play Sessions. Parents and children may be asked to interact while being watched by an evaluator. Therapists will be considering how attuned a parent seems to the child and his or her needs as well as evaluating how to child responds to the parent’s suggestions and conversation.
  • Supporting People. Parents will be asked to provide names and contact information of friends, employees, relatives and other individuals who can provide information that can be vital to the parental competency evaluation.
  • Final Interviews. Once all the information for the evaluation is collected and compiled, parents may be asked for a second interview to clarify and respond to accusations or information that has been revealed through the process. The response to this final interview are then recorded as part of the evaluation report.


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