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The care, control, and maintenance of a child, which can be legally awarded by the court to an agency, in abuse and neglect cases, or to parents, in divorce, separation, and adoption proceedings. Child welfare departments retain legal custody and control over the major decisions for a child that is in foster care. Foster parents do not have legal custody of the children that are in their care.

Question: What is the difference between a custody evaluator and a custody monitor? A judge on her way out to retirement ordered a custody EVALUATOR. A couple of months later, a new judge ordered a custody MONITOR. Unbeknownst to me. 1. Why the change without my knowledge? I'm a party of the case. 2. Does it make a difference?

Answer: Your factual scenario is a little strange - but there is a huge difference between the two. A custody evaluator is a mental health professional - usually a psychiatist or psychologist - who conducts an investigation for the court and makes a recommendation on a custody and visitation plan that is in the best interest of the children. The custody evaluator interviews all of the parties involved, including the children, often conducts psychological testing, speaks with other interested parties, and writes a report to the court with the findings. A custody monitor is a person who supervises visitations to ensure the safety of the children. The court could order this for a variety of reasons, and could order it after a custody evaluation based on the recommendations of the evaluator. You should look at any of the recent orders in the case, or view the file at the courthouse to see what has happened. If you are the parent that must have the monitor, it could make a huge difference on the way you see your kids.


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