• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Custody Evaluations

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

The question is for a friend....

He and his soon to be ex are in the process of a custody dispute. The Judge in the case made a very interesting, telling statement at the initial hearing for temp. custody. He said, "Custody cases are rarely close." He advised the attorney's not to waste these people's money by dragging this out. He then went on to order temp. custody to the father, with whom the children have been living for the past 10 months, along with orders for support to be paid by the mother. He also 'advised' the attorney's that they "can work out these details for visitation". He also commented about not wasting time and money on a custody evaluation.

In the state of Illinois, it is statue that either side can demand a custody eval, known here as a 604(b). Of course, she is now demanding just that. The cost in time and money is ridiculous. Literally, around $10k. And there really is no question which way it will go, and there really is no question that the judge will pay any attention to it anyway. The judge in this case feels, barring allegations of extreme abuse or neglect (which don't exist), that maintaining continuity for the kids is paramount. The father in this case will maintain the marital home (buying her out), keeping the kids in the same school, same friends, etc. The mother in this case would move the kids one hour away into her parents 3 bedroom home, new school, new friends. Which is why father was granted temporary custody already.

It will be argued by the father's attorney that since she is demanding this (in spite of the advice given by the counselor the children are already seeing...at the father's instigation and expense) and in spite of the judges, statements, that she pay for this evaluation. She currently owes the father some significant money in back child support, medical/dental, before and after school care, and for the counseling itself. The simple truth is she is using her parents money to pay for her attorney, and plans on continuing to use them for any evaluation expenses. The idea is to have a spending contest, which the father truly cant win and maintain the home. While it can and will be proven that she did not pay for her attorney, (i.e., she lied on her income/expense affadavit). Nor is she paying any living expenses, again, contrary to her affadavit.

Given the above scenario, what are the chances the judge will order her to bear the cost for the evaluation?


You can ask the judge that it be her responsibility to pay for it, hopefully it is the same judge that stated those statements, and also ask the judge that she be responsible for her ex's (the father) attorneys fee's. I think that if its the same judge, he will order her to pay, since shes not agreeing with what he said. Good Luck to your friend, I hope he wins...:D:
thanks for the replies....i do appreciate the thoughts, but I really do need to hear from anyone with any ideas or experience on the idea of the judge ordering she pay for the evaluation.

Pthalo, contrary to what you seem to think, the mother is definitely not getting a raw deal, nor did the judge have preconceived notions in this case. The judges statements came AFTER the attorneys each laid out their cases. As far as mom getting a raw deal, you'll just have to take my word for it. Or re-read my original post.

The counselor that is currently seeing the kids, because mom is a complete nut case, is STRONGLY opposed to the idea of a custody evaluation, both as a matter of principal as well as it pertains to this situation. In case you're not aware of what happens in a custody eval., the kids get interviewed. I am a strong believer that is never appropriate to involve the kids in any way in a custody dispute. No matter how well handled, the kids then feel some level of responsibility, if not for the divorce, then for the outcome. They will always be aware of what they said, and will always feel they had a hand in 'picking sides'. No matter what. True, time and counseling will help with that, but, it is much better if the entire process is completely transparent to the kids.

As far as 'dad' being worried about the money, again, re-read. The judge in this case made the statement about "not wasting these people's money" to the attorneys. The message, and the idea, is that these kids have been living with one parent, and thriving, for all this time, and the only reason to change the custody arrangements would be if the kids weren't thriving or there were accusations of abuse. Again, neither is the case here.

This case is about a woman who is bitter and angry, who is using her parent's money to do as she pleases. And what pleases her more than anything is the idea of hurting the dad. Regardless of what it means to the kids. The judge saw that and understood that from the initial arguments. Arguments presented by the father's attorney to which the response from the mother's attorney was "while we dont dispute the basics of the case as laid out by opposing counsel, that is just the bare bones of the case". The bare bones include the mother walking out of the marital home, leaving the sole care and custody of the children to the father more than 10 months ago. Suddenly, dad is doing well, the kids are doing well, and mom is furious that is the case. She is most concerned about her 'image'; how can a mother lose custody, unless she is unfit. What will people say?

Initially, before lawyers were retained, and in the initial settlement offer thru the lawyers, it was presented to mom that the kids stay w/dad, she gets every other weekend plus TWO nights EVERY WEEK. This would keep the kids in the home, allow her to keep her job 1 1/2 hours away, and end the marriage which was making her miserable.

Both prior to the seperation, and now, mom works 8 1/2 hours a day plus a 3 hour round trip daily commute. Not because she had to, but because she CHOSE. She spent less that 3 hours per day w/the kids while they were awake before the sepeartion. Dad works from home, takes the kids to school, picks them up from school, does all the cooking, laundry and the lion's share of the housekeeping. Which is all as they had agreed to and suited mom just fine.

With the custody/visitation schedule she was to get, she was spending the same number of hours per week or more with the kids, one on one quality time. And she gets to do as she pleases, but, it also incidentially makes dad happy. So, for that reason more than anything else, she is fighting.

The sad truth is that regardless of anything else, she truly is, if not completely unfit, than definitely not the better choice. Sadder still, if she doesnt go for the evaluation, she will be able to tell people that she has joint custody, but 'allows' the kids stay with dad so they don't have to change homes in a better neighboorhood than the one she lives in with her parents, lose friends and and stay in superior schools. With the evaluation, she will at best be proven to be not the better parent, at worst (and most likely), proven to be unfit. Then, I wonder, what will she say to the friends, family and neighbors? Will she admit she has been and needs to be under psychiatric care and on medications? That she is singularly incapable of 'dealing' with the kids on a full time basis?

The funny part in all this? She KNOWS she is going to lose, and is already telling others, and the dad, that "when he gets custody, it will just prove there is no justice". But, she is going to do this thing anyway, tear apart the kids and spend a whole bunch of money, on the slim ray of hope that in the process, she will be able to play the little martyr, completely turn the kids against their dad, and financially ruin dad in the process. THIS is what the judge meant about 'custody cases almost never being close' and 'not wasting these people's money'.


Senior Member
I have heard of the judge ordering the parent who requested the evaluation to pay if the evaluation proved to be as the judge said, a waste of money. I have heard of the judge ordering a division of the expenses, not 50-50 in each case, but a percentage based on ability to pay.

As far as Mom's living with her parents, that's probably a really good thing. If she is mentally unstable, which I infer as emtionally unstable, then it's, more likely than not, exactly where she needs to be and where she needs to take the children for visitation.

Evaluations do not destroy the children's ability to be happy and they do not cause lasting emotional scars. The parents and the adults who are with these children are the ones who either prevent any scarring or cause any scarring. As long as the adults keep adult conversations and opinions on this matter out of the hearing of the children, and do not show frustration over this, then the children will be fine. Often we convey to our children, without meaning to do so, that they are the reason we are unhappy because it is they who have to be evaluated; it is they who are the prize, or the source of controversy.

One suggestion that has come to mind is the possibility of refinancing the house earlier than planned, paying the evaluation costs from the proceeds, and asking the judge to either deduct the full amount from the proceeds due the ex-wife or to deduct 50% of the evaluation's cost from the ex-wife's proceeds. Hopefully the judge will see that by taking the money from the equity in the house does not actually deprive either parent from their current income and will grant an order along those lines.

Best wishes.

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential