What is the purpose of an Evidence Code 730 Psychological evaluation?
In most situations when parents decide to divorce, parents often agree on issues related to timeshare with minor children. However, in California, when parents file for divorce and cannot agree on a custody arrangement, parents are first referred for mediation. Fortunately, mediation is often productive and helps the parent's to reach a timeshare agreement. Yet, mediation is not always successful. In these cases, the parents and their counsel present before a family law judge or commissioner, and either the parent's or their attorney's request a 730 evaluation. At this juncture, the judge orders the evaluation and an appointment order is drafted for the EC 730 psychological evaluation. Specified in the Order for Appointment are questions which the evaluator must focus on, and these typically include issues regarding timeshare arrangements, overnight visits, concerns regarding domestic violence, substance use, move-away request, and so on. Essentially, the purpose of the assessment is to assist the judge, aka "trier of fact," by providing a comprehensive report to the Court, in which the evaluator provides detailed information, often with recommendations for a parenting plan. The overall focus remains on the best interest of the children. The family law judge or commissioner uses this report to understand details of the specific case, and ultimately, the report becomes the basis for a Court-ordered parenting plan in custody proceedings.