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Custody Evaluations

Custody Evaluations and Health Examinations

Custody Evaluations: In some complex custody and visitation cases, one of the parties or the court may request a third-party professional (e.g. psychologist or therapist) evaluate the family to determine what custody and/or visitation arrangement is in the child’s best interest. The cost for such custody evaluations is significant, so they are generally saved for special situations, including but not limited to cases that involve mental illness, abuse, or significant family conflict. While an evaluation is not binding, the court will generally give the evaluation strong consideration when reaching its custody determination.

Physical and Mental Health Examinations: Upon a motion, the Virginia courts may order certain parties to participate in a physical or mental health examination as part of discovery of a pending action under Virginia Supreme Court Rule 4:10. The court will not grant an order for such an evaluation if the moving party does not show good cause for the examination. It is important to note that in custody cases, the court will look at the physical and mental health of the children and the parties. It should not be presumed, however, that all health information is up for grabs in custody fights. Discovery has limitations, particularly in divorce actions. See e.g., Virginia Supreme Court Rule 4:1(b)(5).

The attorneys at ROOP XANTTOPOULOS BABOUNAKIS will bring their experience, empathy and talent to work for the best interests of you and your family. If you would like to request an appointment, please contact our family law firm by calling 703.442.0040, or by sending us an email.

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