Child Custody | Psychological/Home Evaluations
Psychological and/or home evaluations may be ordered in a custody case by a child
custody officer, Judge, or hearing officer.
Allegheny Forensic Associates (AFA) conducts psychological evaluations. Once an
order is issued for psychological evaluations, the assigned evaluator will contact
the parties and schedule the appropriate appointments. Evaluators may administer
certain psychological tests and conduct interviews and/or observations. When the
evaluation is completed, the evaluator will issue a report to the parties and the
A party may praecipe for a judicial conciliation before the assigned Judge with
the docket clerk within thirty days of receipt of the report, if they wish to go
In custody matters, if requested by either party or if ordered by a child custody
officer, hearing officer or judge, parties may be referred for a home evaluation.
The officer or judge will determine and allocate the total fee. Requests to reallocate
fees will only be addressed in motions court by the assigned judge. Home evaluations
are conducted by qualified individuals who have experience in these matters.
Frequently Asked Questions about psychological evaluations:
- How much will the psychological evaluations cost?
The fee for psychological evaluations is assessed on a sliding scale that is based
on the parties’ combined income.
- What if I cannot afford to pay the fees?
If you fail to pay the fees within the timeframe ordered, the case may be dismissed
and/or you may be charged with contempt for failure to pay fees. You may present
a motion to the assigned Judge requesting reallocation of fees or an extension of
the timeframe in which to pay them.
- How should I prepare my child for the evaluation process?
A brief, non-specific description in which you tell your child(ren) that you, as
parents, are having some trouble figuring out the best way for them to see you both
and that your family is going to go talk to someone who is going to try to help
is a good response. Do not coach your child(ren) on what to say to the evaluator.
Encourage your child to tell the evaluator the truth and to participate in the process.
- How long will the evaluation process take?
Once the fees are assessed, you generally have twenty days to submit payment. Once
payment is received, the evaluator is assigned.
- Evaluations are usually completed within sixty days of the assignment date.