Thursday, November 19, 2009

More About Child Custody Evaluators in Indiana

Ryan Cassman of All Things Family Law - Indiana Divorce & Family Law Blog pointed out to me in his comment to my Fayette County: Local Rule on Custody Evaluators that IC 31-17-2-10 and IC 31-17-2-12 would apply throughout Indiana.  Legislation comes to us from the Indiana General Assembly for applying throughout Indiana.  Local Rules are efforts by the local trial courts to build upon the general.

Notice the General Assembly created a mechanism for using custody evaluators but does not fund custody evaluators.  I have the statutes in full below, and follow this link if you want to compare these with the Fayette County local rule.

IC 31-17-2-10
Professional personnel; court consultation; cross-examination
Sec. 10. (a) The court may seek the advice of professional personnel even if the professional personnel are not employed on a regular basis by the court. The advice shall be given in writing and made available by the court to counsel upon request.
(b) Counsel may call for cross-examination of any professional personnel consulted by the court.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.9.

IC 31-17-2-12
Investigation and report concerning custodial arrangements for child
Sec. 12. (a) In custody proceedings after evidence is submitted upon the petition, if a parent or the child's custodian so requests, the court may order an investigation and report concerning custodial arrangements for the child. The investigation and report may be made by any of the following:
(1) The court social service agency.
(2) The staff of the juvenile court.
(3) The local probation department or, if the child is the subject of a child in need of services case under IC 31-34, the department of child services.
(4) A private agency employed by the court for the purpose.
(5) A guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate appointed for the child by the court under IC 31-17-6 (or IC 31-1-11.5-28 before its repeal).
(b) In preparing a report concerning a child, the investigator may consult any person who may have information about the child and the child's potential custodian arrangements. Upon order of the court, the investigator may refer the child to professional personnel for diagnosis. The investigator may consult with and obtain information from medical, psychiatric, or other expert persons who have served the child in the past without obtaining the consent of the parent or the child's custodian. However, the child's consent must be obtained if the child is of sufficient age and capable of forming rational and independent judgments. If the requirements of subsection (c) are fulfilled, the investigator's report:
(1) may be received in evidence at the hearing; and
(2) may not be excluded on the grounds that the report is hearsay or otherwise incompetent.
(c) The court shall mail the investigator's report to counsel and to any party not represented by counsel at least ten (10) days before the hearing. The investigator shall make the following available to counsel and to any party not represented by counsel:
(1) The investigator's file of underlying data and reports.
(2) Complete texts of diagnostic reports made to the investigator under subsection (b).
(3) The names and addresses of all persons whom the investigator has consulted.
(d) Any party to the proceeding may call the investigator and any person whom the investigator has consulted for cross-examination. A party to the proceeding may not waive the party's right of cross-examination before the hearing.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.9. Amended by P.L.146-2008, SEC.558.

You may also want to go back and take a look at From Fayette County: Contacting the Custody Evaluator Local Rule.

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