Parental responsibility and timesharing constitute one of the most emotional issues facing spouses as they divorce. Florida has made strides to equalize parental responsibility and timesharing of children in a divorce. Lawmakers have changed stigmatizing language used to describe “non-custodial” or “secondary residential” parents in an effort to focus custody disputes on shared parental responsibility. Still, it is common for parents in a divorce to want to increase their involvement with their children’s lives and decrease the role of the other parent. This tension is often the source of disagreement in designing parental responsibility and timesharing plans.
When parents cannot agree on an arrangement, then the court must step in and make a determination about parental responsibility and timesharing. Using the best interest of the child as the main goal, the court may request a parental responsibility evaluation.
What is a Parental Responsibility Evaluation?
A parental responsibility evaluation, or PRE, is an evaluation conducted by a court appointed third party, usually a psychologist. The psychologist will act as an evaluator and neutral third party to help the court resolve a custody dispute. The psychologist will make conclusions and recommendations regarding custody and timesharing. The psychologist will likely interview the child, or children, and anyone else either parent believes would be beneficial to interview.
How Much Does a PRE Cost and Who Pays for It?
The costs of a PRE vary. The court will decide which parent bears the cost of the evaluation. Typically, the court will order that parents share the cost of the evaluation.
How Do I Prepare My Child for a PRE?
Most likely, a psychologist will interview your child, or children, as part of the evaluation. Your child may be nervous about the interview. You can help your child prepare for their interview and feel less anxious by explaining what will happen in the evaluation. You may want to tell your child that they will meet with someone who wants to know about their feelings and thoughts. You do not need to coach your child for the evaluation; instead, encourage your child to be truthful and honest with the evaluator. Help your child understands that they will not be in trouble for their answers.
How Do I Prepare for a PRE?
Understandably, you may also feel nervous about meeting with a psychologist. You may find the following suggestions will help decrease your anxiety and stress:
- Make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before the evaluation;
- Schedule your day so that you have plenty of time to arrive at the psychologist’s office;
- Make sure you are dressed comfortably and neatly;
- Organize documents you need to bring a few days before the evaluation; and
- Write down any questions you maybe have so that you will remember to ask them.
Knowing the process of a parenting responsibility evaluation will also help ease the stress of the evaluation. Get the guidance you need by contacting the Tampa family and divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+