In contested custody issues, a parent can request or the Court may order a Parenting Plan Evaluation (formerly referred to as Custody Evaluation) under Minnesota Statute 518.167 subd. 1. Through this process, the Court can best decide custody and parenting time.
A parent’s opinion on what custody or parenting time arrangement is best for the child or children may or may not be consistent with the law. Generally, there are multiple ways to serve the child’s best interests and provide for the child’s needs. Two parents may have completely different opinions about what is in the child’s best interests. This presents a difficult situation for the Court.
A Parenting Plan Evaluation is performed by a neutral evaluator who has been appointed by the Court to conduct an independent investigation and to make recommendations based on the “Best Interest Factors” set forth in Minn. Stat. §518.17.
A full custody evaluation can take up to 6 months complete and involves an investigation, written report and testimony (if necessary). The Court often relies on the Custody Evaluators’ recommendations, which is why it is important you and your’s child’s parent’s attorneys choose a fair and capable CE.