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Rule 4-903.Uniform custodyevaluations.


To establishuniform guidelines for the performance of custody evaluations.


This ruleshall apply to the district and juvenile courts.

Statement of the Rule:

(1)       Custody evaluations shall be performed byprofessionals who have specific training in child development,and who are licensed by the Utah Department of Occupational and ProfessionalLicensing as either a:

(1)(A)       Licensed Clinical Social Worker;

(1)(B)       Licensed Psychologist;

(1)(C)       Licensed Physician who is board certified inpsychiatry;

(1)(D)       Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; or

(1)(E)       Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor.

(2)       Every motion or stipulation for the performanceof a custody evaluation shall include:

(2)(A)       the name, address, and telephone number of eachevaluator nominated, or the evaluator agreed upon;

(2)(B)       the anticipated dates of commencement andcompletion of the evaluation and the estimated cost of the evaluation;

(2)(C)       specific factors, if any, to be addressed in theevaluation.

(3)       Every order requiring the performance of acustody evaluation shall:

(3)(A)       require the parties to cooperate as requested bythe evaluator;

(3)(B)       restrict disclosure of the evaluationís findingsor recommendations and privileged information obtained except in the context ofthe subject litigation or other proceedings as deemed necessary by the court;

(3)(C)       assign responsibility for payment from thebeginning of the evaluation through the custody evaluation conference, as wellas the costs of the written report if requested;

(3)(D)       specify dates for commencement and completion ofthe evaluation;

(3)(E)       specify any additional factors to be addressedin the evaluation;

(3)(F)       require the evaluator to provide written noticeto the court, counsel and parties within five business days of completion (ofinformation-gathering) or termination of the evaluation and, if terminated, thereason;

(3)(G)       requirecounsel and parties to complete a custody evaluation conference with the courtand the evaluator within 45 days of notice of completion (of informationgathering) or termination unless otherwise directed by the court so thatevaluator may issue a verbal report; and

(3)(H)       require that any party wanting a written custodyevaluation report give written notice to the evaluator within 45 days after thecustody evaluation conference.

(4)       The purpose of the custody evaluation will be toprovide the court with information it can use to make decisions regardingcustody and parenting time arrangements that are in the childís best interest.Unless otherwise specified in the order, evaluators must consider and respondto the custody factors set forth in Utah Code sections 30-3-10 and 30-3-10.2.

(5)       In cases in which specific areas of concernexist such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse, mental illness,and the evaluator does not possess specialized training or experience in the area(s)of concern, the evaluator shall consult with those having specialized trainingor experience. The assessment shall take into consideration the potentialdanger posed to the childís custodian and the child(ren).

(6)       In cases in which psychological testing isemployed as a component of the evaluation, it shall be conducted by a licensedpsychologist who is trained in the use of the tests administered, and adheresto the ethical standards for the use and interpretation of psychological testsin the jurisdiction in which he or she is licensed to practice. Ifpsychological testing is conducted with adults and/or children, it shall bedone with knowledge of the limits of the testing and should be viewed withinthe context of information gained from clinical interviews and other availabledata. Conclusions drawn from psychological testing should take into account theinherent stresses associated with divorce and custody disputes.

Effective November 1, 2019