A Parental Responsibilities Evaluation is conducted in the context of a contested child custody situation. You and your ex don’t agree on what is in the best interest of the children, and perhaps you have concerns about the other parent’s mental stability, drug and alcohol use, emotional stability, and you don’t think that a Child and Family Investigation, which would be the less expensive alternative, is going to be detailed and in-depth enough for your particular situation. A Parental Responsibilities Evaluation is conducted by a mental health professional who has the ability to do psychological testing, so we ask for that when we think they’re might be some underlying psychological issues that need to be dealt with by the court.
Also, a Parental Responsibilities Evaluation can include drug and alcohol evaluation. Maybe you have concerns about how much the other party smokes pot and how much they drink. Other factors, perhaps there are anger management issues that you’re worried about. Perhaps, there’s domestic violence. It’s hard for a Child and Family Investigator, who has a statutory cap of their fee, to get into all of the detail of those particular issues. In very serious matters where you have grave concerns, you don’t think you’re going to be able to get your case resolved, you should consider a Parental Responsibilities Evaluation. You should be cautioned though that these evaluations are expensive.
Typical retainer fee for this, for the professional who’s going to be conducting this evaluation, is around $5,000. I have seen the cost of these evaluations exceed $10,000 easily, so it is a very detailed and in-depth evaluation. If your case calls for it, you have profound concerns, then this is something you should seriously consider especially if you have the financial resources to pay for it.