Depending on the issues in a particular case, a judge or master may order additional services to assist the court in determing what may be in your child's best interest. In some custody disputes, a custody evaluation is ordered. When this happens, a court custody evaluator is assigned to your case, conducts an extensive investigation of both parties, and provides a report and recommendations to the court.
If there are concerns about mental health issues, the court may appoint a psychologist to conduct an evaluation of the parties and their children. Costs vary, depending on the individual provider's fees and the extent and scope of the evaluation. Typically, the court orders that the parties divide these costs. The psychologist then provides a report to the court.
If parties bring allegations of drug or alcohol abuse to the court's attention, the judge or master may order the parties to undergo a substance abuse assessment. The parties will meet with the court's substance abuse assessor to be interviewed and drug tested. There is no cost for this service.
There are times when it is necessary for the court to appoint counsel for a child or children in a family. Sometimes, this is solely for the purposes of disclosing information from a child's mental health professional to the court. Other times, the court may believe that a child's own interests need to be served by an attorney. Typically, the court orders the parents to divide the costs.