a family report is a document written by a family consultant
information collected after the interviews – what happens to it.
It contains information about your family and any children you may have. The person responsible for compiling such a report could be an independent children’s lawyer if the family has chosen to hire one, the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court.
This report will include
- Any parental responsibilities.
- The place where your child or children will reside and who they will reside with
- The amount of contact any of your children may have with any parent and where the contact will take place.
A family report is not the only document used to help make decisions which are in the best interests of the child but any other relevant information is considered too.
The responsibility for writing the family report
The court prefers an independent expert in family matters, including those relating to children. . This is usually an accredited psychologist or social worker who has the professional qualifications to write a report of this nature.
Method of collection of information for a family report
Information may be collected about any of the following:
- The way you deal with your responsibilities as a parent;
- The views of your child or children;
- The family and personal history of your child(ren);
- Any important relationships which your child(ren) have with other family members;
- Anything that is significant in your child(ren)’s current life;
- Anything else which could have a bearing on what the court decides.
The following people may be interviewed for the report
- You and whoever you are in a dispute with, both together and apart;
- You together with your child(ren);
- Your child(ren) on their own;
- Your child(ren) together with the person you are in a dispute with;
- Your child(ren) together with any significant family members or any other people;
Anyone else who may have a professional understanding of your relationship.
The person who writes the report may choose to interview you personally over the phone, at your home or at an office. Usually it is the latter. The series of interviews is likely to take some time so it is advisable to be prepared for a lot of waiting. When you have children with you, it is sensible to have something they can be occupied with while you are all waiting together. You may decide to use a babysitter or someone else who can look after the children while you are being interviewed yourself.
If there are any questions about the interview process, then don’t hesitate to ask before it begins.
The family report will be compiled from all the documents that the reporter has available from the court or any other source as well as from the interviews. The report writer may be called to provide evidence at a hearing you attend. The court will be able to access any or all of the information available to the report writer even if it is not used in the final report.
The independent children’s lawyer may ask for an update from the report writer if there is any continuation of your dispute in court. The update will be mostly focused on what is happening to your child(ren).
A copy of the final report will be given to various people after its completion. This will include;
- You and / or your lawyer if you are using one;
- The person who you are having the dispute with and / or their own lawyer if one is being used;
- The court itself.
If you think there are parts of the report with which you disagree, then raise the issues with your own lawyer or the independent children’s lawyer or the court before any decisions are made which may affect you and your child(ren).
When the court has come to a decision, then this may be explained carefully to your child(ren) by the independent children’s lawyer or the report writer..
If you have any concerns about your own safety or the safety of any of your children, particularly if there is a domestic violence order against someone who may be called to be interviewed at the same time as you, then you should let your lawyer know. Let the report writer or the children’s lawyer know if you do not have a lawyer of your own. Let them have a copy of the domestic violence order.
This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice .
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.