Directory of Custody Evaluators in Santa Barbara

What is a Santa Barbara Child Custody Evaluator?

Under California Family Code 3111, the court has the authority to appoint a child custody evaluation to assist the court in determining what custody and visitation orders would be in your child’s best interests. Santa Barbara child custody evaluators are not appointed in every case.

A child custody evaluator is typically requested by one party if: (1) claims of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse are made; (2) claims of substance abuse are made; (3) one party is requesting to move out of the county; or (4) one party is engaging in behavior that is detrimental to the best interests or safety of the children. 

When a child custody evaluator is appointed in your case, the evaluator will conduct an investigation. The child custody investigation in Santa Barbara typically consists of: (1) interviewing the parties and the children; (2) psychological testing of the parties and the children; (3) presenting evidence to the Santa Barbara child custody evaluator regarding “good parenting” by you and “bad parenting” by the opposing party; (4) possible in-home visits with parents to view appropriate living environments and view interactions between the child and the parent; (5) meetings, correspondence and hearings with attorneys regarding custody and visitation issues; and (6) additional protocols and procedures the parties or the Santa Barbara child custody evaluator deem relevant.

Benefits of a child custody evaluation: A Santa Barbara child custody evaluation may help you prove that the other party is an unfit parent through the use of expert testimony. Conversely, the evaluator may also help “clear your name” from claims of abuse or unfit parenting made by the opposing party through expert testimony. Child custody evaluations are a useful tool in ferreting out deep-rooted psychological issues of a party that affects their parenting and your child’s best interests. 

Disadvantages of a child custody evaluation: You typically give control of the fate of custody and visitation decisions away from the court and give them to the evaluator. Courts allow due process to ensure both parties can present their evidence to the judge. Depending on the type of evaluation, the evaluator may change a visitation order with little to no warning. We are always weary of giving a paid third party the rights to make decisions outside the judicial process. Child custody evaluations are also expensive. The court can order one party to pay the cost or the parties to split the cost. 

Below is a directory of child custody evaluators in Santa Barbara. 

Kathleen Duval


Dr. Gary R. Rick, Ph.D.


Richard Young, PhD, LMFT


If you have any questions regarding a child custody evaluation in Santa Barbara, call Morales Law, P.C. for at (805) 422-7966. We fight for clients to ensure their children are protected. 

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