What is a Family report in parenting matters?
When parties first appear before the Court for an application seeking parenting Orders, the Court will often make an order for the preparation of a Family Report. Family reports are very useful documents and the Courts are heavily reliant upon them to provide them with independent expert opinion as to what is in the best interests of children.
Family reports can also assist parties in negotiating parenting arrangements without the further need from intervention of the Court using the recommendation of the family consultant.
Who prepares the report?
A family report is prepared by a family consultant, who is a psychologist or social worker qualified in children’s issues and particularly in dealing with separated families.
Who pays for the report?
A party may be required to pay the entire fee or a portion of the fee for a family report to be prepared if their financial circumstances permit them to do so, or otherwise the court may order and pay for a report to be prepared.
What is the process?
The family report process is relatively straight forward and involves the parties, the children and any relevant third parties, for example a new partner or siblings of the children not involved in the proceedings.
The family consultant conducts a series of interviews or meetings with all of the relevant people.
Usually each parent will be interviewed separately, each parent will be interviewed with the children and depending on the age of the children, they too may be interviewed on their own.
The family consultant will provide their recommendations as to what they believe is in the bests interests of the children with respect to with whom the children should live, what time they spend with the other parent, what school they go to and any other relevant matters such as further family therapy or linked-in services which may be of benefit.
If you are about to attend for interviews for the preparation of a report, or have obtained a family report and need assistance interpreting the report writer’s recommendations, or would like advice on how to proceed with your family law matter please contact the family law team at McLaughlins Lawyers today on (07) 5591 5099.
Author/Director: Sophie Pearson