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Last minute advice for custody evaluator visit in home?

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barcher144 posted 11/7/2019 09:15 AM

The custody evaluator is coming over tomorrow evening around dinner time to do her in-home observation.

I am planning on making pasta of various varieties (it's one of the few things that all of my kids will eat)... specifically, trying different low lactose cheeses (like cheddar or parmesan) as well as some fake cheese for my daughter who is lactose intolerant. I'll also being making homemade marinara, since my supply is running low (I wouldn't have enough for dinner without making more).

We have the ability to play a handful of games like Uno and I have an air hockey table (except that's really loud).

My basic plan is to just get the place clean and otherwise act like normal.

Anything else?

Catwoman posted 11/7/2019 09:49 AM

Do you habitually eat together as a family? If so, I would make sure the evaluator knew that.

Do you have the children help with meal prep and cleanup as a rule? If so, great. Business as usual.

I would do a board game, a card game or a puzzle that involves all of you vs. air hockey, which, if memory serves, is only two people.

Cat

tushnurse posted 11/7/2019 15:01 PM

Just be you. It will be alright.

WhoTheBleep posted 11/7/2019 17:13 PM

Sounds perfect. Good luck, Barcher!

barcher144 posted 11/7/2019 17:14 PM

Thanks Cat and Tushie.

p.s. We can play air hockey with 4 people. It's a lot of fun with multiple pucks, but it's LOUD.

Catwoman posted 11/7/2019 19:39 PM

If it's loud, I wouldn't do it. You might make a comment that you use the table, but not when you have a visitor in your home due to the din.

Don't try and change everything up to impress the evaluator. It won't work, and they'll see through it.

My kids grew up enjoying board games and, of all things, poker. We used to bet with pennies or match-sticks.

Cat

NoOptTo posted 11/9/2019 05:49 AM

Hope all went well with the evaluator's visit last night for dinner.

WhoTheBleep posted 11/9/2019 07:51 AM

How did it go, Barcher?

barcher144 posted 11/9/2019 08:10 AM

I think that it went well.

The evaluator is a champion of the poker face. She's *very* smart and *very* professional at all times. As I learned in therapy, it's actually very disconcerting to other people to have a poker face on all of the time. I was prepared for this by my attorney, so no big deal to me.

I made homemade marinara and pasta for dinner. When she arrived, I had the kids pick out their pasta and their toppings (three different cheeses, red peppers, onion, olives, hamburger, sausage, etc) and then put their dishes in the oven for ~20 minutes to cook.

I picked up a little while dinner was baking and I has a conversation with my oldest in front of the evaluator. My youngest went to the nearby room and was rambunctious and my middle child played on her phone. The conversation with the oldest was about a bomb scare that they had had at their school, which turned out to be nothing.

Once dinner was ready, we sat down and ate and we talked. I can't remember the topics. Normal stuff. After dinner, I cleaned up some, with the older kids taking care of their own plates and mess.

Next, we sat down and played 4 or 5 games of Uno. I think that I won most of the games, but it was a lot of fun. Me and the kids are good at playful banter... so a lot of teasing and jabbing back and forth. My youngest did something funny at the end that got the evaluator laughing and then she announced that was time to end the session.

The session was 90 minutes.

One nice thing was the dog and my son (FYI: the dog bit my son earlier this year, causing STBXW to declare that the dog had to go because she was scary...I took the dog because I know that the kids love the dog). The dog was a little rambunctious because of "New Person!" and so I tried to distract her by giving her a treat. My son actually asked to give the dog the treat, thus showing that he is not at all scared of the dog. Eventually, I put the dog in her kennel -- she was just too wild (barking and jumping on the evaluator... a slightly built woman in her late 60s).

Overall, I think that it went well. The kids clearly aren't scared of me as STBXW claims. I can clearly parent the kids well, also in contrast to STBXW's claims. I can't really think of anything that I wish that I had done differently. It was just a normal-ish night for me and the kids with the evaluator watching.

Next week, the evaluator interviews the kids one-on-one and STBXW has her in-home visit on Friday.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 8:13 AM, November 9th (Saturday)]

WhoTheBleep posted 11/9/2019 11:06 AM

Glad it went well!

josiep posted 11/9/2019 11:52 AM

I know it must be a huge relief to have it over and done with. And, of course, happy that it went well but since you already cook/eat with the kids (and obviously know their eating habits) and play cards with them (which I'm sure was obvious since they knew how to play), I'm guessing that you assumed it would go well (barring an unforeseen glitch).

Now you can spend the weekend relaxing. And beginning to think about Christmas. :)

BearlyBreathing posted 11/9/2019 13:34 PM

Glad it went well!

Phoenix1 posted 11/9/2019 13:53 PM

Good job, barcher! Glad it went smoothly!

NoOptTo posted 11/9/2019 17:07 PM

You did well. Too bad you were the first one to be evaluated. Now your STBXWW can and will grill your kids on what happened. Then she will try to out do you in an attempt to make herself look like the perfect mom. I pray that your children's interviews shed a real light on what is going on between you two from their eyes.

demolishedinside posted 11/10/2019 05:11 AM

Iím glad it all went well, Barcher.

barcher144 posted 11/10/2019 10:00 AM

Thank you, everyone.

I know it must be a huge relief to have it over and done with. And, of course, happy that it went well but since you already cook/eat with the kids (and obviously know their eating habits) and play cards with them (which I'm sure was obvious since they knew how to play), I'm guessing that you assumed it would go well (barring an unforeseen glitch).

I was somewhat expecting that my middle child would create a scene in the middle of it. She has taken the majority of STBXW's efforts at parental alienation. She has even promised me that she will tell the evaluator that she hates me. My plan, if she had a meltdown, was to remain calm and tell my daughter that she was being disrespectful to her father and that I expected better from her (and probably send her to her bedroom). It didn't happen, thankfully.

Now your STBXWW can and will grill your kids on what happened. Then she will try to out do you in an attempt to make herself look like the perfect mom.

I think that you are right about this. The alienating parent usually grills the kids about the targeting parent as the primary mode of alienation. The evaluator, I think, knows all of this.

And yes, STBXW is trying to make herself out to be the perfect mom. In contrast, I am trying to make myself out to be a well-intentioned dad who is human and occasionally makes mistakes. I learn, try to get better. Other than her parental alienation BS, I haven't really criticized STBXW as a mother. That's legitimate... she's a good day-to-day mom. That is, if she was a location, she'd be a great place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there (i.e., the emotional abuse is bit-by-bit, day-by-day).

tushnurse posted 11/10/2019 14:47 PM

Sounds like things went as well as could be expected. I'm also proud that you had a contingency plan for the mid child. You know my mantra it served you well.
I hope you took a moment to thank that kiddo in private.
Proud of you.

Ripped62 posted 11/10/2019 15:30 PM

Well done. It sounds like a good evening and in home evaluation for you and your family.

myalterego posted 11/18/2019 08:42 AM

any updates how the dinner went with STBXW ?

barcher144 posted 11/18/2019 10:35 AM

any updates how the dinner went with STBXW ?

Not really. It happened last Friday. I try not to ask my kids much about what goes on with STBXW because I am certain that STBXW is interrogating the kids about EVERYTHING that happens with me.

I had DD14 for much of the day on Saturday. I took her to my GF's salon for a facial and some pampering... as a belated birthday present. I then had tickets to a couple of sports events that DD14 wanted to attend. I asked her how it went. She said "fine." I didn't follow up with additional questions.

Honestly, I suspect that the dinner with STBXW went well. The kids like her and love her. She's very likable... she's a covert narcissist, so you wouldn't notice a problem if you just showed up at her house for dinner. You'd think that she was a great person.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 12:17 PM, November 18th (Monday)]

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