By: Valerie E. Anias, Esq.
Families often wonder what resources are out there to help them in the midst of a family related litigation case. There are numerous services available that can be requested by either party involved in the litigation and ordered by the Court. On this week’s #FamilyFriday article, ERA Law Group, LLC discusses some of those services.
- Mediation. The Court often orders the parties to complete mediation early on in litigation. This tool is especially helpful in limiting the issues at hand and encouraging families to settle their disputes. As discussed in earlier #FamilyFriday articles, it is often recommended that families seek mediation services before filing suit.
- Custody Investigations/Evaluations. Upon request from a party or by the Court’s own initiative, a custody evaluation can be ordered. A trained third party professional, will be required to conduct an interview of each party, an interview of the child(ren) (if the child has the capacity to be interviewed), a review of relevant records pertaining to the child, and an observation of the child with each party. At the conclusion of the review, the evaluator will be required to report their factual findings of the needs of the child, the capacity of each party to meet those needs, and the evaluator’s recommendation as to custody and visitation.
- Mental Health Evaluations: Upon request from a party or by the Court’s own initiative, a party may be ordered to receive an evaluation by a mental health professional and in some cases psychological testing. If one or both parties allege that a party suffers from a mental health issue which may impact the children, custody, and/or visitation, the party should motion the Court for the evaluation. The Court will weigh the party’s allegations and decide whether to grant the motion and make such Order
- Substance Abuse Assessments: Upon request from a party or by the Court’s own initiative, a party may be ordered to undergo drug testing and/or assessment. Depending on the outcome or the basis for the screening, the Court may then require random screenings and/or treatment related to the abuse. This will also play a role in the Court’s determination of custody and/or visitation.
- Specific Issue Evaluation: Again, upon request from a party or by the Court’s own initiative, the Court may Order an evaluation based upon a specific issue related to one or both parties that affects the safety, health and/or welfare of a child. The Court will analyze the specific issue and Order the evaluation by a professional with expertise related to that specific issue.
To discuss your case and about services that may be available to you, call ERA Law Group, LLC today at (410) 919-1790 to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation!