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Family Law Articles


The CNA Process
By Maryann J. Rabkin, Esq.

In most cases, the costs of hiring a professional Custody Evaluator, and participating in a protractive custody evaluation is extremely expensive, and often is unaffordable to a family. The CNA (Custody Neutral Assessment) is utilized in some New Jersey counties. During the CNA process, a family therapist will meet with the parties, the children of the parties (if age appropriate), for evaluation of what parenting plan might be in a child’s best interest.

The process results in a “mini” evaluation that the Court may utilize in the absence of a full custody evaluation.

By comparison, a full custody evaluation will take several months from the beginning to the time the evaluator writes a report, will include multiple interviews with the parties, the children, additional people that are involved in the children’s lives and evaluations will take place as to how the children behave in connection with the two parents. The truth is that in most custody evaluation reports, the evaluator will determine that both parents are fit and loving parents. They will then make a recommendation for how the parents shall spend time with their children.

The CNA process is sometimes a reasonable alternative to the full custody evaluation. It should be noted, however, that these evaluations are highly abbreviated, and really only give a snapshot into the parties’ lives.

 

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