Don’t badmouth the other parent when you meet with the custody evaluator.
In our zeal to win our child custody cases, we sometimes find it difficult to resist the urge to badmouth the other side. But be forewarned: It is a bad idea to defame your ex-husband or your ex-wife when you meet with the custody evaluator, the neutral psychologist or the guardian ad litem appointed by the court.
I have watched this process backfire on many occasions. An angry mother appears for her interview with Dr. Smith, the custody evaluator. She continuously details all of the many colorful ways in which her ex-husband ruined her life, explaining how bad a father he is, and how he deserves nothing. At the end of the session, the doctor writes an evaluation for the court recommending that the father (not the mother) receive the greater amount of custody time with the children. Why? Because, according to the doctor, the mother is not focused on the children but rather focused on her broker relationship.
When a parent spends all of her time badmouthing the other parent, she may unintentionally be casting herself as obsessed with her marital difficulties and distracted from her child-rearing responsibilities. The better approach is to recognize openly the right of the child to have a relationship with both parents, and to maturely note that things have not always been between you and your ex.
By minimizing commentary of your ex-spouse and focusing instead on the goal of careful co-parenting, you can impress the custody evaluator with your dedication to the children. It is far better to reflect your interest in the children by focusing on them than to spend time uselessly casting your ex-husband or ex-wife in a negative light.
Even where your ex’s problems are significant, or potentially dangerous to the child, be careful to approach the subject with moderation and balance, and to express your position concisely and without inordinate emotion. In most cases, this approach will improve that way you are seen by the evaluator and may ultimately lead to the result you are hoping for.