Important Information on Custody Evaluations

When a divorce involves issues affecting the custody of a minor child, the court must evaluate an arrangement for child custody based on factors concerning the minor child’s best interests. The issue of child custody is not necessarily exclusive to divorces. Custody issues can arise in situations where the parents were never married and had a child born out of wedlock.

Regardless of the marital status or relationship between the child’s parents, the courts are legally bound to consider several factors regarding the best interests of a child. This ensures that courts take a careful look at each case and the unique circumstances involved. To aid its assessment, the court can appoint a custody evaluator with the specialized experience and expertise to assess the relationship between the parents and their minor child, drawing from their background, education, and training to recommend to the court what custody arrangement best suits the child.

Qualifications for Custody Evaluators

Under Texas Family Code § 107.004, a custody evaluator must meet strict requirements. A qualified custody evaluator possesses either

  • A master’s degree from an accredited college or university in humans services and licensed to practice in Texas as a social worker, professional counselor, marriage and therapist, or psychologist or a medical degree and is board certified in psychiatry; and
  • Has two years of experience working full-time under professional supervision performing physical, intellectual, social, and psychological evaluations where they performed 10 court-ordered custody evaluations after being licensed or under the direct supervision of a qualified individual

Amendment to the Texas Family Code on Custody Evaluators

The 86th Texas Legislature amended several sections of the Texas Family Code, including the legal requirements affecting custodial evaluators in Texas. These amendments will be effective starting September 1, 2019, unless the governor vetoes them.

Introduced as H.B. 2514, the legislature amended Texas Family Code § 107.006 to ease the requirements of § 107.004 in counties where less than 500,000 live. The amendment expands the scope of the exception to counties in the Rio Grande Valley, to address concerns that the populations will exceed 500,000 but will nevertheless lack qualified custody evaluators per the requirements listed in § 107.004. The court is empowered to appoint another individual to conduct a custody evaluation if no individual qualifies under § 107.004.

Consult Kay Polk, Attorney at Law Today

Are you looking for a qualified legal professional who is committed to protecting you and your child’s best interests? If so, you should speak with Kay Polk, Attorney at Law. For nearly two decades, Attorney Polk has delivered quality legal representation and advocacy for Texas residents and their families. She is dedicated to guiding clients through complex and challenging family law proceedings, such as child custody matters requiring the appointment of a child custody evaluator.

For quality legal advice and advocacy about your family law dispute, call Kay Polk, Attorney at Law at (713) 234-6260 or online today.