Determining the Best Course of Action for a Child’s Future
In any divorce involving children, child custody is an issue that must be decided upon. When parents are unable to work out an arrangement on their own, the courts will determine how child custody and parenting plans will be handled. In order to do this, the court may order a parenting plan assessment.
Read on to learn more about what a parenting plan assessment is and how it works in child custody cases.
The Assessment: Explained
A parenting plan assessment (known as a PPA and formerly known as a Solution Focused Evaluation) is ordered by the Los Angeles Family Law Court and is usually a normal part of any divorce involving children. In a PPA, a family court services specialist will sit down and interview each parent as well as their child(ren). Upon completion of their investigation, the family court services specialist will report back to the Family Law Court with their findings.
There are two types of PPAs in Los Angeles County: one-day and two-day.
One-Day Parenting Plan Assessment
As its name suggests, a one-day PPA takes place over the course of one day. In this PPA (sometimes referred to as the fast-track evaluation), the family court services specialist will conduct their interviews and observe each parent with the child(ren) on the same day as each party will give testimony in court (although these occurrences will not happen at the same time).
Because of how quick the turnaround time must be, one-day PPAs usually work well in custody cases that do not have more than one or two issues that must be handled before the court can determine how custody should be awarded.
Two-Day Parenting Plan Assessment
Similarly, two-day PPAs take place over two days; however, these PPAs are usually ordered when there are more than two issues that must be worked through in a child custody case. Because more issues need to be sorted out, more time is required to interview each parent and the child(ren) to gain their perspective. After the first day of conducting interviews, the second day is usually reserved for providing testimony in court.
It’s common to see two or more of the following issues present in cases requiring a two-day PPA:
Cases with high levels of conflict between the parents
A child or a parent with a physical disability
Three or more children of at least 5 years of age
The presence of domestic violence or child abuse (including cases where only allegations are made)
The presence of a substance abuse problem
A party has a history of a serious mental illness
Parenting Plan Assessment Fees
The cost of conducting a PPA in Los Angeles County depends on which type is ordered for your case. A one-day PPA costs $975, and a two-day PPA is double that amount at $1950. Unless the court allows for a waiver or deferment of this fee, the fee must be paid within 21 calendar days after the order for the PPA is made or by the date of the PPA (whichever date occurs first).
Consult with Your Attorney to Prepare for a Parenting Plan Assessment
It might sound intimidating to be under observation or interviewed for a parenting plan assessment; you might be afraid that what you say could ruin your chances of seeing your child. In order to fully prepare yourself to undergo the assessment, be sure to consult with your attorney who understands child custody cases and how PPAs work. At TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP, we can not only prepare you to go through a PPA but are prepared to defend your right to be a parent throughout your case.
Learn more about parenting plan assessments in Los Angeles County by calling our office at (310) 455-8364. You can also learn more information about the services we provide by visiting our website.