​​   Dr. Nikki Woller, Ph.D., LCSW & Associates 


Custody Evaluations

Custody evaluations are completed by a licensed clinician who is certified in the custody evaluation process and who can provide knowledgeable information about children, families and he alleged custody issues that are raised by the parents. The custody evaluator is an objective person who is able to write a report that will provide psychosocial information on the child and family as well as recommendations. The report helps the Courts and the parents reach solutions that are in the children's best interest.  

A custody evaluation does have some legal guidelines that are required to be addressed. Issues such as the health, safety and welfare of the children are paramount. Custody evaluations are guided by the assumptions that both parents should be able to provide meaningful and substantial participation in there child's life. Custody evaluators look at whether or not the child is safe, loved and cared for. 

If the custody issue is not settled during mediation and/or the parents have serious concerns about each other's ability to parent the children involved, a child custody evaluation may be indicated. The following are some criteria, which may be used to determine if an evaluation would contribute to a better understanding of the family and help the judge in issuing orders serving the needs of the children.

  • Allegations have been raised that either (or both) parent behaves in a manner that could potentially harm the children.
  • The social and/or physical environment of either (or both) parent appears to be detrimental to the welfare of the children.
  • The child has special needs requiring special considerations.
  • One parent wishes to relocate with the children and the move will impair continuing and frequent contact between the child and the other parent.
  • One or both parents have problems with substance abuse or show other clear problems, which render them ineffective or harmful as parents.

SEAL clinicians have participated in Family and Dependency Court proceedings for the past twenty years. They are provide though and compassionate assessments that are child driven and solution focused.

Custody Evaluations are provided by either Court appointment or attorney request.

Fees for custody evaluations are $175 per hour with a $2600 retainer required. This will cover the first 16 hours of the assessment.  Social Investigations are typically 20-25 hours in length. The remainder of the assessment fee is collected prior to the assessment being released. Expert witness testimony regarding the assessment is billed at $300.00 per hour with a 3 hour minimum retainer required prior to the court hearing. 

The fees are typically split between the parents.