Suffolk County New York, 730 Evaluations Lawyer
The decision to speak with a 730 Evaluations Lawyer can be challenging and often confusing. To protect your rights and present the best defense possible, you must have honest and professional legal advice. At Donato Law Office, you will receive exceptional representation provided by a lawyer who knows how to prepare you to present your case for 730 evaluations. Our law office in Suffolk County provides in-depth legal counsel and personal attention from a passionate attorney who always fights for her client’s rights.
What You Need to Know About New York’s 730 Custody Evaluation
A judge may order a 730 evaluation to determine the best custody arrangement for the child under New York Family Code 730. A 730 evaluation thoroughly assesses the child’s parents, family members, living arrangements, and other pertinent aspects. In a divorce, any parent may seek a 730 evaluation, or a judge may order one in a custody case. A judge may appoint a competent, unbiased evaluator to investigate the child’s family. Throughout the evaluation process, licensed evaluators maintain objectivity. The evaluator may testify in court or provide the judge with a professional evaluation report. The 730 evaluation’s goal is to ascertain the child’s best interests.
To identify the child’s best interests, the assessor will consider the following:
- The child’s needs and how these needs are being met
- Each parent’s bond with their child
- The mental health of each parent
- Domestic and substance abuse history
730 Child custody evaluation process
In cases involving child custody and/or visitation, the 730 evaluators may examine the following: a child’s connection with his or her parents, siblings, friends, babysitter, teachers, or other family members, the child’s social structure and living circumstances (i.e., religion, culture, activities, discipline, etc. ), legal papers (police reports, medical reports, school records, past psychological assessments, restraining orders, and/or mediation reports), and the child’s behavior.
Important note: Typically, a psychologist or licensed therapist serves as the 730 evaluators in a child custody case. Psychologists and registered therapists are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect cases. Additionally, the 730 evaluator is not a parent advocate. The 730 evaluator’s role is to assess the family dynamics and social environment to suggest child custody and/or visitation arrangements that are in the child’s best interests (not the parties or parents).
The 730 evaluators will respect confidentiality to the extent permitted by law and will not discuss findings or recommendations with the parties before the recommendation is filed with the court.
730 Evaluation Questions
The 730 evaluators may ask you the following questions to help the court understand the child’s best interests based on their health, well-being, and safety:
- How do you ensure that the child’s needs are met?
- What is the impact of your job schedule on your parental responsibilities?
- Do you take care of the child while he or she is sick?
- Do you take your child to doctor’s appointments?
- Will you spend time with your child after you get custody?
- Are you supportive of the child’s connection with their mother/father?
- Do you consult with the child’s other parent while making major choices about the child?
Because the evaluator is attempting to safeguard the child’s best interests, it is critical that you are honest and transparent with your responses during the evaluation. If you lie, the evaluator may consider it a red flag, risking your custody rights.
A 730 evaluation is not limited to matters involving child custody.
A 730 evaluation applies to any “fact or subject requiring expert evidence as may be required” This implies that the Court may assign a 730 evaluator for any issue for which the judge considers expert witness testimony will be beneficial.
What is a 730 evaluation in a divorce or legal separation?
Typically, the Family Court will order a 730 evaluation when one or more divorce matters are highly challenging and require an expert’s opinion, such as child custody evaluations, forensic accounting, an appraisal, and many more.
The judge may order a 730 evaluation throughout the case, including the beginning, middle, or end. Even during the trial, the Family Court has the authority to order one.
What is a 730 evaluation in the context of a parentage case?
Parentage cases in New York are more limited than divorces because unmarried parents are involved in a parentage lawsuit.
Thus, in a normal parentage dispute, the three primary concerns are child custody (physical custody, legal custody, parenting time), child support, and attorney fees.
The Family Court may require a psychological evaluation for child custody and/or a forensic accountant for child support disputes in a parentage case. Child support cases often require an assessment of cash flow and income.
Who Is Responsible for Paying the Expert?
The court may order a party to pay the whole cost of the 730 evaluation or a portion of the cost. Usually, the court will compel a party to pay the whole expense of a 730 evaluation, subject to repayment in full or in part by the opposing party at a later date. The court will consider the party’s capacity to pay for the 730 evaluation and other equitable criteria when determining which party should bear those costs.
Challenging the Recommendation
A 730 evaluator’s recommendation may be contested for a variety of reasons, including:
1) bias or prejudice on the part of the 730 evaluators,
2) failure to examine significant evidence,
3) consideration of incorrect or unlawful evidence in the 730 evaluation,
4) the 730 evaluators incorrectly applied the law to the facts,
5) the scope of the evaluation was unduly wide and more.
Additionally, a person may employ a second 730 evaluator to get a different recommendation based on the same facts, contesting the validity of the first 730 evaluator’s conclusions based on the grounds indicated above, or both.
Consult a Reliable Family Law Attorney
To learn more about 730 assessments, schedule a free consultation with one of our divorce and family law experts now. Our family law office has successfully handled hundreds of cases throughout Suffolk County, New York, including child custody, child support, guardianship, domestic violence restraining orders (DVRO), annulment, stepparent adoption, fathers’ rights, and juvenile dependency (CPS defense). Contact our law firm immediately!