Impartial, caring guidance for child custody
Healthy Frontier Counseling performs child custody investigations throughout Wyoming. It’s a sad reality that Wyoming has one of the highest divorce rates — by some measures, the third highest — in the country. Divorce is stressful on adults, but for children, divorce can be devastating, as can the resulting custody battles. That’s where Healthy Frontier Counseling can help.
When parents divorce and are not able to mutually agree on how decisions involving the children are going to be made or how much time the children will spend at each parent’s home, they often pursue a custody investigation. A custody investigation is a process whereby an objective, trained investigator gathers information about a variety of factors related to the children and parents (or prospective caregivers). The results are then shared with legal council, parents and, if necessary, the courts.
The purpose of custody investigations
The purpose of the custody investigation is to provide the court with information it can use to make decisions regarding custody and parenting time arrangements that are in a child’s best interest. Unless otherwise specified in the order, evaluators must consider and respond to each of the following factors:
- The developmental needs of the child, including, but not limited to physical, emotional, educational, medical and any special needs; and the parents’ demonstrated understanding of responsiveness to these needs as well as their emotional maturity.
- The stated wishes and concerns of the child, taking into consideration the child’s cognitive ability and emotional maturity.
- The relative benefits of keeping siblings together.
- The relative strength of a child’s bond with prospective custodians — meaning the depth, quality and nature of the relationship between a prospective custodian and child.
- Previous parenting arrangements where the child has been happy and well adjusted.
- Factors relating to the prospective custodians’ character and their capacity and willingness to function as parents, including:
- Parenting skills.
- Co-parenting skills, including but not limited to, the ability to facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent, and to appropriately communicate with the other parent.
- Moral character.
- Emotional stability.
- Duration and depth of desire for custody and parent time.
- Ability to provide personal rather than surrogate care.
- Significant impairment of ability to function as a parent through drug abuse, excessive drinking or other causes.
- Reasons for having relinquished custody in the past.
- The child’s interaction and relationship with the child’s step-parents, extended family members, and/or any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
- Financial responsibility.
- Evidence of abuse of the subject child, another child or spouse.
- Recognition of personality disorders and evaluation of how or if it affects his or her co-parenting skills.
- Any other factors deemed important by the investigator, the parties or the court.
We are here to help
Although child custody investigations can be quite costly and laborious, they have the potential to help the parents disengage from their current struggle and to bring some calm and predictability to the child's life. Please contact Jeanna Butterfield at Healthy Frontier Counseling directly to discuss our rates.