Is this evaluation the same as a "custody evaluation"?
The psychological evaluation is not the same as the custody evaluation. The custody evaluation, performed by the custody evaluator, is done so in order to provide a recommendation to the judge on how to decide the custody dispute.
Judges have neither the time nor the ability to visit each parent’s home and meet with the parents and the child(ren) individually and collectively. Many states provide by statute for a custody evaluator. A custody evaluator will meet with each parent and interview him or her. The evaluator will also observe the interaction between each parent and the child(ren), and often the interaction of the parents with each other.
The evaluator will want to learn about your relationship with the other parent. Resist any temptation to "bad mouth" the other parent. The evaluator has heard it all before, and it will not help you or your case.
Of course, the evaluator will also want to learn about your relationship with your child. He or she will be interested in knowing how much you participate in the child(ren) ’s life. He or she will ask you questions like: Do you help with homework? Do you get your child(ren) ready for school? Do you cook for the child(ren) or the family? Do you wash clothing? How often do you attend school plays or performances? Do you attend the child(ren) ’s athletic events, no matter what they are? Are you your child(ren) ’s "taxi," in that you shuttle them to school, activities, the doctor, etc.? How often do you go on vacation with your child(ren)? How often do you go to the park, the ball field, or the mall with your child(ren)? Do you know your child(ren) ’s doctor’s name? (You may be surprised to find out that many supposedly interested and informed parents do not know this basic fact.) Are you present at bedtime and do you read to your child(ren)? What is your child(ren)ís best friends name? These are only a few of the questions that will be asked by the evaluator.
The evaluator will also be very interested in your views on discipline and your methods of discipline for your child(ren). Different views on child discipline are often factors in a custody case and may be a very factor important in deciding the best interests of the child.