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How Can Attorneys Assist In The Process?
  • Important
  • Please read this section if you are representing yourself

Please read this section if you are representing yourself
An Attorney can assist in the process by:

  • Providing information to the evaluator The evaluator must have accurate and complete information in order to contact your client and any other person from whom the parent wants the evaluator to receive information. Make sure your client fills out all necessary paperwork promptly and thoroughly and provides releases to obtain requested information. Any direct communication from either attorney with the assigned evaluator about the specifics of the case should be done in writing with a copy to opposing counsel.
  • Keeping appointments Make sure your client knows when appointments are scheduled and that they make every effort to keep those appointments. If there is an emergency that make rescheduling an appointment necessary, be sure the evaluator is notified as soon as possible. Efforts are made to set the evaluator's home visit within the existing court ordered visitation schedule. However, in many situations, the home call appointment will differ from visitation times set out by the Court and the attorneys' cooperation may be needed to ensure the child(ren) are present in each parent's home for the evaluator's visit.
  • Explaining the cost Be sure your client understands the payment obligation set forth in the Stipulation and Order for Appointment and Payment of Court Evaluator (FAM FCS 006) or the Order for Appointment and Payment of FCS Specialists- Parenting Plan Assessment (FAM FCS 007) and that this obligation paid promptly. Any factors regarding inability to pay should be raised at the time the evaluation is ordered, so orders accommodating your client's financial situation can be issued.
  • Clarifying allegations Encourage your client to provide the evaluator with his/her concerns regarding the parenting of the children, and sources of collateral information, as early in the process as possible (desirably on the Parent Questionnaire). The evaluator will investigate the allegations raised by both parents, including fulfilling legal mandates regarding reporting child abuse. However, the investigation of a specific allegation does not necessarily mean the evaluator is convinced of the truth or merit of the allegation.
  • Notifying the evaluator of any change The evaluator must be informed at the earliest possible date of all changes relating to the case including: substitution of attorney, change in Court date, settlement of the dispute, and address changes.
  • Encouraging full participation in evaluator's home visits Encourage your client to have all members of his/her household present for the home visit, including stepchildren and other children not at issue. The purpose of the home visit is to observe the children with the people that live in that home and to interview the significant people in the child's life. Absent parties can lead to a less comprehensive picture of the family.

You can find the form listed above and a complete list of Los Angeles Superior Court Family Law forms, go to Family Law Forms.
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