These are the most common questions received by Cognitive Forensic Alliance, PLLC.

What is a child custody evaluation?

"Child custody evaluation" means an evaluative process ordered by a court in a contested case through which information, opinions, recommendations, and answers to specific questions asked by the court may be:

  1. made regarding:
    1. conservatorship of a child, including the terms and conditions of conservatorship;
    2. possession of or access to a child, including the terms and conditions of possession or access; or
    3. any other issue affecting the best interest of a child; and
  2. made to the court, the parties to the suit, the parties' attorneys, and any other person appointed under this chapter by the court in the suit.

How long does a child custody evaluation take?

There is no direct way to answer this question as there are many variables to consider, many of which are out of the evaluation process. Some of the items which could slow down the evaluation process include:

  • Not providing a court order to Cognitive Forensic Alliance, PLLC specifically naming "Michael Decker M.S., LPC" and including "Supervisor Dr. Alissa Sherry" in the order
  • Not completing all required paperwork and releases required for an evaluation
  • Cancelling or "no showing" for appointments.
  • Not getting collateral information in a timely fashion to the evaluator
  • Not submitting payments for deposit
  • Substantial collateral resources required

How much does this cost?

A completed child custody evaluation is billed at an hourly rate of $150.00 per hour for Michael Decker M.S., LPC. A retainer of $1500.00 per party is also required before any interviews or meetings will take place, retainers should not be made until requested. The hourly rate does not apply to travel within either Williamson or Bell County for home visits. Additional fees are outlined in the fee agreement document; however, all fees are subject to change.

For individual, family, and couples counseling please refer to the About Us page for rates per therapist.

Is there additional cost for appearing in court?

For any requested appearance, deposition, or participation in any type of settlement conference: these are billed in ½ and whole day increments and include travel time at $875 for ½ day and $1750. These are billed at ½ day increments. This does not include preparation time.

Can I get an expedited custody evaluation?

We usually do not provide expedited evaluations. It generally takes several weeks or more for completion of paperwork, interviews, psychometric testing, and obtaining other collateral records. While interviews can be done concurrently this is also a process that, when combined with reviewing collateral information and writing reports, takes several weeks as well. Additionally, we are providing services to a number of families at any given time and "expedited" evaluations can disrupt the regular work flow (when it is possible to accommodate such requests at all). As such there are large surcharges for expedited evaluations. If the evaluation is needed by a certain date, please bring that to our attention when services are initiated.