As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist attorney, my family law office frequently receives questions as to child custody evaluations. What are custody evaluations? How are they conducted? Is a custody evaluation the same as a 730 child custody evaluation? A "730" evaluation comes from the reference to the California Evidence Code, Section 730 which you can see here. There are times in family law cases where an expert is needed to evaluate the facts either for one party or for the court.
Since my office extensively handles child custody cases, I have been involved in child custody evaluations for decades. I want to work with an evaluator who is fair, impartial, open minded and will bring to the case specialized knowledge that will help to explain what is going on in a particular case, and what parenting schedule is in the best interest of a child. In my first decade of my family law practice I worked with many psychologists who qualified in the San Diego Superior Court as expert child custody evaluators. One of these evaluators was Stephen Doyne, Ph.D. This psychologist quickly became a favorite by both the family law attorneys and the San Diego Superior Court judges.
However, do not underestimate how emotional child custody evaluations can become. In one such evaluation, one parent of a child who was the subject of a custody evaluation, in which Dr. Doyne was involved, reportedly took great offense of Dr. Doyne's custody findings. To make a long and involved story short, an attack was launched on Dr. Doyne's credentials which are a necessary part in becoming qualified as an expert witness before the court. This attack went through the court system for years threatening to destroy a career and to undermine many child custody evaluations and court orders. In a June 30, 2011 press release from the San Francisco Chronicle (which you can view here) the news has just been released that this "false credentials" lawsuit has been dismissed.