Unfortunately, there are times when even the best efforts of families are not enough to keep a family together. The painful emotions that accompany separation and divorce can make the question of child custody that much harder to answer. Even judges and attorneys may have the same dilemma, and in that case, they may order a custody evaluation.
All parties to the separation of the family would be expected to participate in the procedures, except extremely young children. Usually the process involves interviews (about family history, parenting techniques, etc.), personality evaluations, and sessions for evaluating the quality of interaction between each parent and child.
Finding the most suitable arrangement can be challenging, but it is of utmost importance to minimize any potential harm to the children involved.