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Social Study Evaluations in Dallas

How to Prepare for a Social Study Evaluation

In the Texas courts, a social study evaluation will need to be completed if conservatorship or possession of and access to a child are in question. The Texas Family Code has requirements that need to be met in order to complete a social study evaluation. For example, the Texas Family Code requires that the social study evaluator conduct an evaluation of the home environment for each party in the custody dispute unless the court order states that the home environment is not an issue in the case.

If a home visit is required the evaluator will provide the date and time that the visit will occur. It would be helpful to have an activity planned during this time so that the evaluator can examine any interactions with the children. The evaluator will be making sure that the home is a safe and healthy environment for the child, and they will also want to make sure the parent is having positive interactions with the child.

This evaluation can take between 4 to 18 months to complete. The social study evaluator will conduct individuals with both parties to the case, joint interviews with each party and the child, as well as individual interviews with the child. In addition, each parent will need to submit references that will be asked about that parent’s skills and involvement with the children. During the interview, the evaluator will be analyzing the following factors:

  • The status of the relationship of each parent with the child
  • Insight into the treatment of the child by each parent
  • The skills, abilities, and competence of each parent

After the evaluation has been completed, the evaluator will create a written report with their recommendations. It is important to note that although the Court is not bound by these recommendations, they can serve as convincing evidence in a case.

Another important aspect of a social study evaluation is a questionnaire. This is a form of written documentation that each parent will need to provide. It can include information on the parent’s childhood upbringing, educational history, medical history, as well as other pertinent qualities. The questionnaire is also a good time to indicate the parent’s preferences in terms of their role in the child’s life. The parents should have a plan in terms of what they want to bring to the table in defense of their own parenting skills and right to be in the child’s life. This is a delicate process that is not to be taken lightly, and we have some tips in terms of preparation:

  • Have more references than only family members. This will give the evaluator greater range and trust in the credibility of the sources.
  • Do not submit more personal references than requested, as this shows a lack of ability to follow instructions.
  • Do not contact personal references to let them know that they will be contacted by the evaluator.
  • Complete the letters and return them to the evaluator by the deadline.

If you need more support for your social study evaluations case, the team at Mathur Law Offices is here for you. Call us at (888) 867-5191 or contact us online to learn how we can provide legal support through a social study evaluation.

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