The 730 Evaluation: What It Is, and What Is Involved

A former California social worker, Miriam Galindo, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and registered child play therapist. Dr. Miriam Galindo currently provides counseling services to families and children involved in high-conflict divorce cases through her private practice in Irvine. She regularly works with the Family Law Division of the Orange County Superior Court and was recently sought after to complete a 730 evaluation for a case involving the filming of children for the show Real Housewives of Orange County.

Ensuring the best interests of the child, a court traditionally enforces a 730 evaluation to determine if child or substance abuse is occurring or whether the mental health of a parent may prohibit proper care of a child. Additionally, a judge may request a 730 evaluation if the child’s upbringing is in question.

In the state of California, a custody evaluator, appointed by a judge or selected by a judge from a list submitted by members of both sides of the custody case, is called upon to complete the analysis. A custody evaluator may hold the title of psychologist, psychiatrist, qualified social worker, or marriage and family therapist. He or she provides to the court insight into potential issues regarding parenting or mental health by conducting a psychological test, interviewing parents and family members, observing interactions between the child and parent, and completing home visits.

In the resulting report, which is submitted to the court, the custody evaluator addresses parenting characteristics and the quality of the parent-child relationships. Further, the professional addresses how the parents perceive their child, as well as the pressures placed on him or her.

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