The I-Team found one example out of Northern California in which an 11-year-old boy, Coby, was the center of a custody dispute. His mother was ordered to pay $2,200 upfront to a custody evaluator. In the ruling, the judge wrote, “If mother does not pay the fees … primary custody shall be changed.”
The mother did not come up with the money and she lost custody. She told the I-Team she didn’t have the money and the boy’s father had missed child support payments.
The I-Team confirmed that low income families, even those with documented conflict, are not ordered to get the custody evaluations because there is nobody to pay for it. The reports are only used for families with financial means.