WHAT IS A 730 EVALUATION?
Learn about private child custody and forensic accounting Evidence Code "730" evaluations
What is a 730 Evaluation
What is a 730 evaluation? Learn what every spouse must know.
What is a 730 evaluation? And what must spouses and parents know about a 730 evaluation that is often ordered in Family Court? This comprehensive guide answers many common questions about the 730 evaluation process in California. It explains:
- What a 730 evaluation is,
- What it involves in both a child custody context and outside of it, and
- This guide walks you through the 730 evaluation process from start to finish.
This 730 evaluation guide’s focus is to present this information in an easy to understand format so we can lift the mystery that sometimes surrounds 730 evaluations.
This guide is not legal advice and not intended to apply to your specific case or factual situation. Please consult with an experienced California family law attorney if you have any questions or need representation. Our family law attorneys handle family law matters in each of the seven Southern California counties.
What is a 730 evaluation?
A 730 evaluation is a court appointed expert’s assessment of a matter so that expert can provide an opinion and recommendation to the Court.
A 730 evaluator is the Court’s appointed expert and is not hired by either party. Therefore, a court ordered 730 evaluation is intended to be an unbiased, objective evaluation of facts or a matter for which an expert opinion will help the Court.
What does Evidence Code 730 state?
Evidence Code 730 states:
“When it appears to the court, at any time before or during the trial of an action, that expert evidence is or may be required by the court or by any party to the action, the court on its own motion or on motion of any party may appoint one or more experts to investigate, to render a report as may be ordered by the court, and to testify as an expert at the trial of the action relative to the fact or matter as to which the expert evidence is or may be required.
The court may fix the compensation for these services, if any, rendered by any person appointed under this section, in addition to any service as a witness, at the amount as seems reasonable to the court. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a person to perform any act for which a license is required unless the person holds the appropriate license to lawfully perform that act.”
A 730 evaluation is not just for court ordered psychological evaluations in child custody cases
A 730 evaluation involves a court appointed expert’s review of facts and an independent analysis of those facts. But is that how it really works in a family law case and what are some things that can go wrong? This article addresses such issues.
Notice Evidence Code 730 does not limit its application to a particular type of matter. A 730 evaluation applies to any “fact or matter to which the expert evidence is or may be required.” That means the Court may appoint a 730 evaluator for any issue the judge believes expert witness testimony may be helpful.
What is a 730 evaluation in a divorce or legal separation case?
The Family Court typically uses a 730 evaluation when one or more divorce issues are complex enough to needs an expert’s opinion. The judge may order a 730 evaluation at the beginning of the case, in the middle or toward the end. The Family Court can even order one during trial.
We discuss the types of issues for which a Family Court may order a 730 evaluation in this guide, below.
What is a 730 evaluation in a parentage case?
California parentage cases are more limited than divorces. That is because a parentage case involves unmarried parents. Therefore, the three typical issues in a parentage case are child custody (physical custody, legal custody and parenting time), child support and attorney’s fees. In a parentage case, the Family Court may order a psychological evaluation on child custody issues and/or a forensic accountant on child support issues. Child support issues generally involve cash flow and income evaluation. We discuss both of these, below.
What is a 730 evaluation in a child custody matter?
There are certain California Family Code sections and California Rules of Court that control a child custody 730 evaluation. The most commonly used ones are California Rules of Court 5.220, 5.225, 5.235 and Family Code 3110 through 3118. Don’t worry, we are not going through all of them in this guide. That would take too long and be boring. We will refer to certain parts of them in this guide.
A 730 evaluation in a child custody context is a court ordered psychological evaluation that involves the appointment of the following individuals per California Rules of Court 5.225:
“(c) Licensing requirements
A person appointed as a child custody evaluator meets the licensing criteria established by Family Code section 3110.5(c)(1)-(5), if:
(1) The person is licensed as a:
(A) Physician and is either a board certified psychiatrist or has completed a residency in psychiatry;
(C) Marriage and family therapist; or
(D) Clinical social worker.
(2) A person may be appointed as an evaluator even if he or she does not have a license as described in (c)(1) if:
(A) The court certifies that the person is a court-connected evaluator who meets all the qualifications specified in (j); or
(B) The court finds that all the following criteria have been met:
(i) There are no licensed or certified evaluators who are willing and available, within a reasonable period of time, to perform child custody evaluations;
(ii) The parties stipulate to the person; and
(iii) The court approves the person.”
In Orange County, California, the great majority of our child custody evaluators are psychologists.
What is a 730 evaluator’s duties in a child custody psychological evaluation?
California Rules of Court 5.220 states the following:
“The child custody evaluator must:
(A) Consider the health, safety, welfare, and best interest of the child within the scope and purpose of the evaluation as defined by the court order;
(B) Strive to minimize the potential for psychological trauma to children during the evaluation process; and
(C) Include in the initial meeting with each child an age-appropriate explanation of the evaluation process, including limitations on the confidentiality of the process.”
A 730 evaluator’s job in a child custody psychological evaluation is to conduct an objective, unbiased evaluation and make informed recommendations to the Family Court consistent with the child or children’s best interest.
What is a 730 evaluation’s scope in a child custody case?
California Rules of Court 5.220 states the scope of a child custody 730 evaluation. Rather than just restate that entire part of the Rule, let’s address several of its provisions we believe are most important:
“Data collection and analysis that are consistent with the requirements of Family Code section 3118; that allow the evaluator to observe and consider each party in comparable ways and to substantiate (from multiple sources when possible) interpretations and conclusions regarding each child’s developmental needs; the quality of attachment to each parent and that parent’s social environment; and reactions to the separation, divorce, or parental conflict. This process may include:
Reviewing pertinent documents related to custody, including local police records;
Observing parent-child interaction (unless contraindicated to protect the best interest of the child);”
Therefore, this section requires a 730 evaluation’s scope to include collecting data, analyzing it, using multiple sources when available, looking at the quality of attachment between parent and child, etc.
A 730 evaluation’s scope also includes:
“Interviewing parents conjointly, individually, or both conjointly and individually (unless contraindicated in cases involving domestic violence), to assess:
Capacity for setting age-appropriate limits and for understanding and responding to the child’s needs;
History of involvement in caring for the child;
Methods for working toward resolution of the child custody conflict;
History of child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, and psychiatric illness; and
Psychological and social functioning;
Conducting age-appropriate interviews and observation with the children, both parents, stepparents, step- and half-siblings conjointly, separately, or both conjointly and separately, unless contraindicated to protect the best interest of the child;
Collecting relevant corroborating information or documents as permitted by law; and
Consulting with other experts to develop information that is beyond the evaluator’s scope of practice or area of expertise.
Provide clear, detailed recommendations that are consistent with the health, safety, welfare, and best interest of the child if making any recommendations to the court regarding a parenting plan.”
The above is self explanatory. What it teaches within the context of a child custody 730 evaluation is the importance of interviewing parents and the focus of those interviews.
Ethical duties of a child custody evaluator in a 730 evaluation
California Rules of Court 5.220 also addresses ethics. It states, in part:
“In performing an evaluation, the child custody evaluator must:
(1) Maintain objectivity, provide and gather balanced information for both parties, and control for bias;
(2) Protect the confidentiality of the parties and children in collateral contacts and not release information about the case to any individual except as authorized by the court or statute;
(3) Not offer any recommendations about a party unless that party has been evaluated directly or in consultation with another qualified neutral professional;
(4) Consider the health, safety, welfare, and best interest of the child in all phases of the process, including interviews with parents, extended family members, counsel for the child, and other interested parties or collateral contacts;
(5) Strive to maintain the confidential relationship between the child who is the subject of an evaluation and his or her treating psychotherapist;
(6) Operate within the limits of the evaluator’s training and experience and disclose any limitations or bias that would affect the evaluator’s ability to conduct the evaluation;
(7) Not pressure children to state a custodial preference;
(8) Inform the parties of the evaluator’s reporting requirements, including, but not limited to, suspected child abuse and neglect and threats to harm one’s self or another person;
(9) Not disclose any recommendations to the parties, their attorneys, or the attorney for the child before having gathered the information necessary to support the conclusion;
(10) Disclose to the court, parties, attorney for a party, and attorney for the child conflicts of interest or dual relationships; and not accept any appointment except by court order or the parties’ stipulation; and
(11) Be sensitive to the socioeconomic status, gender, race, ethnicity, cultural values, religion, family structures, and developmental characteristics of the parties.”
Ethics is an important part of any evaluation and an evaluator’s violation of the above rules can cause the recommendations to become tainted with bias and/or incompetent handling. Such bias and incompetent handling should result in a challenge to the 730 evaluation process used and the recommendations. In short, the 730 evaluator’s opinions become worthless.
730 evaluation with legal and physical custody at issue
Legal custody is often an issue in a 730 evaluation. Legal custody involves decision making regarding the children’s health, safety, education and general welfare. There is joint legal custody and sole legal custody although it is possible to have joint legal custody on some issues and sole legal custody on others.
Physical custody is a label. Physical custody is not the same as parenting time (also called visitation) although most parents view physical custody and parenting time as the same thing.
To better understand legal and physical custody, please check out our guide on California child custody laws.
A 730 evaluation’s focus is whether (a) the parents should share joint legal custody, in whole or in part, (b) whether the parents should share joint or sole physical custody and (c) what the parenting time should be. For Orange County matters, we encourage you to read the Orange County Parenting Guidelines.
730 evaluation with domestic violence at issue
If there is domestic violence at issue in a 730 evaluation, Family Code 3113 states the following:
“Where there has been a history of domestic violence between the parties, or where a protective order as defined in Section 6218 is in effect, at the request of the party alleging domestic violence in a written declaration under penalty of perjury or at the request of a party who is protected by the order, the parties shall meet with the court-appointed investigator separately and at separate times.”
False allegations of domestic violence are unfortunately common. Regardless, our experience is that child custody evaluators play it safe in a 730 evaluation and if either party has made an allegation that there is a history of domestic violence, the evaluator will likely follow this code section. We have written an article on the connection between domestic violence and child custody.
730 evaluation with sexual abuse at issue
Family Code 3118 addresses a 730 evaluation where either parent has made an allegation of sexual abuse of a child or children.
Family Code 3118 is lengthy so we won’t write its entire text here. Instead, we will address a few sections of it. Please consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand the entirety of Family Code 3118.
Family Code 3118
The code states, in part:
“In any contested proceeding involving child custody or visitation rights, where the court has appointed a child custody evaluator or has referred a case for a full or partial court-connected evaluation, investigation, or assessment, and the court determines that there is a serious allegation of child sexual abuse, the court shall require an evaluation, investigation, or assessment pursuant to this section.”
Therefore, Family Code 3118 mandates any evaluation, investigation or assessment (which would include a 730 evaluation) be conducted per this section.
Steps a 730 evaluator must take
Family Code 3118 states that the evaluator or investigator must, at a minimum, do all of the following:
“(1) Consult with the agency providing child welfare services and law enforcement regarding the allegations of child sexual abuse, and obtain recommendations from these professionals regarding the child’s safety and the child’s need for protection.
(2) Review and summarize the child welfare services agency file. No document contained in the child welfare services agency file may be photocopied, but a summary of the information in the file, including statements made by the children and the parents, and the recommendations made or anticipated to be made by the child welfare services agency to the juvenile court, may be recorded by the evaluator or investigator, except for the identity of the reporting party. The evaluator’s or investigator’s notes summarizing the child welfare services agency information shall be stored in a file separate from the evaluator’s or investigator’s file and may only be released to either party under order of the court.
(3) Obtain from a law enforcement investigator all available information obtained from criminal background checks of the parents and any suspected perpetrator that is not a parent, including information regarding child abuse, domestic violence, or substance abuse.
(4) Review the results of a multidisciplinary child interview team (hereafter MDIT) interview if available, or if not, or if the evaluator or investigator believes the MDIT interview is inadequate for purposes of the evaluation, investigation, or assessment, interview the child or request an MDIT interview, and shall wherever possible avoid repeated interviews of the child.
(5) Request a forensic medical examination of the child from the appropriate agency, or include in the report required by paragraph (6) a written statement explaining why the examination is not needed.
(6) File a confidential written report with the clerk of the court in which the custody hearing will be conducted and which shall be served on the parties or their attorneys at least 10 days prior to the hearing. This report may not be made available other than as provided in this subdivision.”
These are not the only steps the evaluator must take. But as you can read, Family Code 3118 is quite insistent on the steps that an evaluator or investigator must follow.
Temporary orders pending the 730 evaluation’s completion
Family Code 3118 also states:
“If the court orders an evaluation, investigation, or assessment pursuant to this section, the court shall consider whether the best interests of the child require that a temporary order be issued that limits visitation with the parent against whom the allegations have been made to situations in which a third person specified by the court is present or whether visitation will be suspended or denied in accordance with Section 3011.”
The Family Court’s job is to protect the children’s best interest. Therefore, it makes sense the Family Court must consider whether a temporary order is necessary until the evaluation is complete.
730 evaluation with substance abuse and addiction at issue
A 730 evaluation may include an assessment of substance abuse and addiction issues. The evaluator should be experienced in addiction issues.
In Orange County, we are fortunate to have who we believe to be one of the most preeminent evaluators on addiction related issues, Dr. Saeed Soltani, Ph.D. Dr. Soltani is often appointed as a 730 evaluator in child custody cases that involve addiction and substance abuse.
Separate from these issues, there may still need to be an actual child custody evaluation. That means there may be two evaluators, one to address addiction or substance abuse issues and the other to make a child custody recommendation.
What is a 730 evaluation in a forensic accounting context?
A forensic accountant can perform a 730 evaluation on financial related issues.
Such forensic accountants hold a certified public accountant license (CPA) as well as other designations, which may vary from one to another.
730 evaluation with cash flow and income at issue
A 730 evaluation may include an examination of income available for support. This is sometimes called “cash flow.” Such 730 evaluations are usually those of a self employed spouse. After all, if both spouses are W2 employees, there is rarely the need to determine income available for support because the pay stubs speak for themselves.
However, income available for support is not limited to employment income. Such a 730 evaluation may include passive or investment income.
730 evaluation with business valuation at issue
If one or both spouses are self employed, one question may be whether that business is community property. A business is like any other asset and may be community property, separate property or a combination of the two.
730 evaluation with tracing of money at issue
A 730 evaluation may involve tracing money backward in time. This tracing can serve many purposes including but not limited to:
- To determine whether separate or community property money was invested into an asset, which could impact whether that asset is community or separate property. One example of this may be a Family Code 2640 claim when one or both spouses placed a downpayment on a home from a separate source.
- To determine whether community property money was misappropriated.
- To determine whether community and separate property was commingled.
How does a 730 evaluation start?
A 730 evaluation generally starts by agreement (called a stipulation) which is then signed by the court (and becomes a stipulation and order). Sometimes, if the spouses cannot agree, the Court may order a 730 evaluation despite one spouse’s objection. The Court can even order a 730 evaluation over both spouse’s objections or if neither spouse requests it.
730 evaluation by agreement
A 730 evaluation by agreement is common in California family law cases, especially when each spouse or parent believes they may benefit from it.
Parents who agree to a child custody evaluation sign a written stipulation prepared by one or both lawyers. This stipulation then attaches to a judicial council form called an FL-327 “order appointing a child custody evaluator.”
If the stipulation is for a 730 evaluation that is not custody related, that requires a separate document. This can be typewritten or a form may be used, depending on the lawyer’s preference. In Orange County, a local form called an L-0965 form is sometimes used. This form is called “Order Appointing Expert (EC 730).” EC 730 refers to Evidence Code 730.
Is agreeing to a 730 evaluation a good idea?
A 730 evaluation is a comprehensive review of issues by a court appointed expert. The question a spouse or parent should ask him or herself is this – will a detailed review of the facts by an independent expert be more beneficial than a Court hearing without one. Our family law firm does not feel strongly for or against 730 evaluations. In child custody cases, 730 evaluations are generally a good idea if there is a lengthy history of misconduct by one parent and that history will be very time consuming to set forth in a hearing. 730 evaluations are also helpful in child custody cases if there are numerous witnesses and various types of evidence that an evaluator can consider and which may be more difficult to present in a formal hearing, including an actual family law trial.
On financial issues, the decision to agree to a 730 evaluation may be more complex. If there is the financial means for each spouse or parent to have their own private expert, that may be preferable to a court appointed one in some cases. The simpler the issue, the better it may be to have a 730 evaluation. The more complex the issue, the more the spouses or parents should consider whether it is better to have their own experts instead of a 730 evaluator.
Of course, the fact spouses or parents agree to a 730 evaluation does not prevent them from having their own expert consultants.
Who pays for the 730 evaluation?
There are three ways this issue can go. First, the court order may require the parties to divide the 730 evaluation fees, either equally or unequally. Second, the court order may require one party to pay for the 730 evaluation, “subject to reallocation” (discussed more below). Third, the court order may require one spouse to pay for it without reallocation.
Each spouse’s or parent’s ability to pay for it and access to funds is the biggest factor. Another may be which one requested it, especially if the other party is against the 730 evaluation.
What does payment “subject to reallocation” mean?
Payment for a 730 evaluation subject to reallocation means one spouse pays for it but the Family Court reserves the power to order the other spouse to pay for all or part of it. This reallocation typically takes place after the 730 evaluation is complete but can be done earlier.
730 evaluation without an agreement
The Family Law Court may order a 730 evaluation despite one or both parties’ objections to it. A party’s objection may be for many different reasons. The two most common objections are:
- The time it takes to complete the 730 evaluation is unreasonable and the case does not merit that delay; and/or
- The 730 evaluation is cost prohibitive.
The Family Court makes the ultimate decision. In child custody cases, the Court’s focus is the child’s best interest and whether a 730 evaluation will assist the Court in making orders consistent with it. In non-custody cases, the time and cost versus benefit may be a greater concern.
Choosing a 730 evaluator
Orange County Family Court has a list of court-approved 730 evaluators for child custody cases. Our past experience is that most California counties have their own list but that list does not preclude using a 730 evaluation off that list so long as the evaluator meets all of the California Rules of Court and Family Code’s requirements.
Your family law attorney should discuss with you the choice of a 730 evaluator.
How does a 730 evaluator communicate with the parties or lawyers?
Communication between the 730 evaluator and the parties is different than communication between that evaluator and the lawyers. The 730 evaluator will generally communicate with the parties during one or more interviews. There may be an initial intake interview, followed by others that become more substantive. Communication between the 730 evaluator and the lawyers is, with rare exceptions, with all of the lawyers involved. That is because, with limited exceptions, 730 evaluators are not permitted to have “ex parte” communication with an attorney for one party without the other’s involvement.
California Rules of Court 5.235
California Rules of Court 5.235 explains this rule in a child custody 730 evaluation. It defines ex parte communication as “a direct or indirect communication on the substance of a pending case without the knowledge, presence, or consent of all parties involved in the matter.” There are a number of exceptions. These include, per Rule 5.235:
“The parties may enter into a stipulation either in open court or in writing to allow ex parte communication between a court-connected or court-appointed mediator or evaluator and…the attorney for any party; or the court.”
“The communication is necessary to schedule an appointment;”
“The communication is necessary to investigate or disclose an actual or potential conflict of interest or dual relationship as required under rule 5.210(h)(10) and (h)(12);”
“The court-appointed counsel for a child is interviewing a mediator as provided by Family Code section 3151(c)(5);”
“The court expressly authorizes ex parte communication between the mediator or evaluator and court-appointed counsel for a child in circumstances other than described in (3); or”
“The mediator or evaluator is informing the court of the belief that a restraining order is necessary to prevent an imminent risk to the physical safety of the child or party.”
These are not the only exceptions. Section (f) of the same rules states:
“(f) Exception for mandated duties and responsibilities
This rule does not prohibit ex parte communication for the purpose of fulfilling the duties and responsibilities that:
(1)A mediator or evaluator may have as a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse;
(2)A mediator or evaluator may have to warn of threatened violent behavior against a reasonably identifiable victim or victims;
(3)A mediator or evaluator may have to address a case involving allegations of domestic violence under Family Code sections 3113, 3181, and 3192 and rule 5.215; and
(4)The court may have to investigate complaints.”
Communication during a 730 evaluation in child custody cases
In child custody 730 evaluations, the evaluator will generally interview the parents and either receive documents from the parents and/or receive them from the lawyers. Some evaluators insist on all documents to come from the lawyers to them, with a copy to the other lawyer. Some evaluators are not as insistent.
Communication during a 730 evaluation in financial cases
In a 730 evaluation that involves financial issues, the communication style may vary from one evaluator to another. Our experience is most 730 evaluators (forensic accountants) prefer communication through the lawyers when documents need to be sent but will interview one or both spouses to acquire information when necessary.
The 730 evaluation report and recommendations
Once a 730 evaluation is complete, the evaluator will generally write a report, file that report with the Family Court (it does not become public record in child custody cases) and send a copy of the report to each lawyer. If a party is unrepresented, the evaluator generally sends the report to the self represented party.
The report lays out the nature and extent of the 730 evaluation and, at the end, generally makes recommendations.
The 730 evaluation report in child custody cases
Family Code 3111 states the following regarding a child custody 730 evaluation report.
If directed by the court, the court-appointed child custody evaluator shall file a written confidential report on his or her evaluation. At least 10 days before any hearing regarding custody of the child, the report shall be filed with the clerk of the court in which the custody hearing will be conducted and served on the parties or their attorneys, and any other counsel appointed for the child pursuant to Section 3150. The report may be considered by the court.
If the psychological evaluator in the child custody case fails to file the report and serve it on each party’s lawyer at least 10 days before the hearing, that may be grounds for a continuance of any hearing. Notice also Family Code 3111 did not state the Family Court must consider the report or follow the recommendations. Family law judges usually give a 730 evaluator’s recommendations serious consideration but they are not permitted to simply rubber stamp the recommendations without exercising independent judgment and judicial discretion. The ultimate decision rests with the Court.
The 730 evaluation report’s confidentiality in child custody cases
Family Code 3111 states the following regarding the confidentiality of a child custody 730 evaluation report:
“(b) The report shall not be made available other than as provided in subdivision (a), or as described in Section 204 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or Section 1514.5 of the Probate Code. Any information obtained from access to a juvenile court case file, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 827 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is confidential and shall only be disseminated as provided by paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 827 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(c) The report may be received in evidence on stipulation of all interested parties and is competent evidence as to all matters contained in the report.
(d) If the court determines that an unwarranted disclosure of a written confidential report has been made, the court may impose a monetary sanction against the disclosing party. The sanction shall be in an amount sufficient to deter repetition of the conduct, and may include reasonable attorney’s fees, costs incurred, or both, unless the court finds that the disclosing party acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust. The court shall not impose a sanction pursuant to this subdivision that imposes an unreasonable financial burden on the party against whom the sanction is imposed. This subdivision shall become operative on January 1, 2010.”
Agreement with the 730 evaluator’s recommendations
If the spouses or parents agree to the 730 evaluation’s recommendations, the parties can sign a stipulation (recall that means agreement) that is then signed by the Court.
Challenging the 730 evaluator’s recommendations
A 730 evaluation often results in one side feeling as if they “lost.” This is most common in a child custody evaluation. An unfavorable evaluation is not the end. There are many ways to challenge a 730 evaluator’s recommendations. The following is not a complete list of them but some of the more common, general challenges. We intend to write a comprehensive article in the future on how to challenge a 730 evaluator’s report.
1. Bias in a 730 evaluation
A 730 evaluator must evaluate the facts objectively and not have bias for or against either party. Within the context of a child custody 730 evaluation, one California appellate decision that involved an Orange County matter made clear that “we bear in mind that child custody evaluations carry great weight and entail potentially grave consequences to the parents as well as the best interests of the children. The mandate that an evaluator be fair and impartial is non-negotiable.” The case is called Marriage of Adams.
2. 730 evaluator’s failure to consider important evidence
One challenge to a 730 evaluator’s recommendations is the evaluator’s failure to consider important evidence presented to him or her. This is a very fact dependent analysis. That evidence may be a document or documents, a witness that was not interviewed, etc. The 730 evaluation report is the most important starting point. If the evidence is not considered, the 730 evaluation report will likely not mention it or dismiss it as being unimportant.
If a spouse or parent is going to challenge the 730 evaluator’s report, he or she, through the attorney, should obtain the evaluator’s entire file. This is more than the report. The file should include every material aspect of the evaluation process.
3. 730 evaluator’s consideration of improper evidence
Sometimes, a 730 evaluator may consider evidence that he or she should not. If this happens, the 730 evaluation report may mention it. Once again, getting the entire file is essential.
Hiring an Evidence Code 733 expert to challenge the 730 evaluator’s recommendations
Evidence Code 733 states:
Nothing contained in this article shall be deemed or construed to prevent any party to any action from producing other expert evidence on the same fact or matter mentioned in Section 730; but, where other expert witnesses are called by a party to the action, their fees shall be paid by the party calling them and only ordinary witness fees shall be taxed as costs in the action.
Evidence Code 733 allows a spouse or parent to hire their own expert to challenge the 730 evaluator’s recommendations. In child custody cases, there may be limitations to what an Evidence Code 733 expert can testify about. He or she may not be permitted to testify about what is in the children’s best interest and attempt to substitute his or her own opinion for that of the 730 evaluator. The Evidence Code 733 expert usually testifies about the 730 evaluator’s errors and why the Family Court should not consider the opinion, in whole or in part.
Do you need legal representation for a 730 evaluation?
We hope you enjoyed this comprehensive guide on the California 730 evaluation process. Our family law firm has offices in Santa Ana and Newport Beach. We offer an affordable, initial strategy session.