Edina, MN Family Law Attorney, Jane Van Valkenburg talks about what happens if an agreement cannot be made between a couple on child custody and visitation rights in a divorce.
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If you can’t reach an agreement, that’s where the early neutral evaluations come in. You can have a Social Early Neutral Evaluation, and what that is is that you decide to have a Social Early Neutral Evaluation and you pick a female and a male that are they can be court selected – they have a list of people – or they’re people that have gone through training to do this. And the parties go and go through the custody factors. Usually, it’s mom first and then it’s dad. Those two people then consult with each other and come back and say, “Here’s my recommendation based on the custody factors, what I’m hearing.” And they also often know who’s the judicial officer. So at that point, then the parties can consult with each other and see if they can come up with an agreement based on that recommendation. And if they can’t, then the choice is that they can go get a custody evaluation. Used to be we could get custody evaluations through the county. We can’t do that anymore, so you have to get a private custody evaluation. And that’s the other choice, is you can get a custody evaluation. And those usually take six months and they’re usually $5,000.00 to $15,000.00.