Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fayette County: Local Rule on Custody Evaluators

Here is a rule that bears some thinking about.  None of the courts in my general area have a similar rule about custody evaluators.   There is a second rule from Fayette County also dealing with this subject that will be published here in the next few days.


On motion of either party with the approval of the Court, or on the Court’s own motion, contested matters involving child custody and visitation may be referred to appropriate sources for investigation and report to the Court.

All custodial evaluator reports or guardian ad litem reports which are court ordered regarding custody and/or visitation shall be admissible into evidence on the motion of either party without the evaluator needing to be present at the hearing. No part of this Rule is intended to supplant the right of either party to compel the attendance of the evaluator or other witnesses as set out in Ind. Trial Rule 45.

In all contested family law matters involving child custody or visitation, the provision of Ind. Trial Rule 35 providing for physical or mental examinations by a physician shall be extended to include examinations and evaluations by a psychologist, therapist or other qualified evaluator upon order of the Court.


Ryan H. Cassman said...

Sam, I think under Ind. Code 31-17-2-10 and 31-17-2-12 (together) arguably a custody evaluation can be admitted without the evaluator present so long as it is provided 10 days prior to hearing.

Sam Hasler said...

You caught me out a bit - I had been concentrating on another of Fayette County's local rules on custody evaluation but decided that I needed to note this rule, too. Combined the post was too long. I think it would be true that most evaluator reports are not objected to but are admitted without objection. On the other hand, I have found Marion County's DRBC reports open to attack for not having a very good grasp of the facts. I cannot of a more polite and succinct way of describing the problem and how I have dealt with an incomplete report.

The follow up post will be published tomorrow: From Fayette County: Contacting the Custody Evaluator Local Rule.