Often in parenting matters parents and children see a psychologist or qualified counsellor for advice or to get a report about children’s arrangements or issues that have arisen. This can be because a Court orders it or even without litigation.
Family Reports can deal with a range of matters. They can answer specific questions or provide observations and/or recommendations, as well as information about a child’s development and ‘age and stage’; what does a child of that age require to meet their developmental goals?
Family Reports can be done either by a Family Consultant of the Court or by a private Family Consultant, which may include counsellors or persons who are have certain qualifications such as clinical psychologists or psychiatrists.
It is also possible to undergo counselling with a psychologist or counsellor where a report may or may not be prepared. Sometimes this counselling (and reports that are prepared in the context of the counselling) will be confidential and other times it will not be. It is very important that you have an understanding of when the process is reportable and when it is confidential and what that means for you.”
A Family Report can play a crucial role is determining what arrangements should be in place for children. For this reason it is very important that you get advice about what sort of Family Report you should be seeking, how the Report should be conducted, who the best person to conduct the Report is, and what questions the Report should answer.
If the Family Report is Ordered by the Court then generally you will receive a copy of the Report prior to the final hearing (unless there are specific reasons why you should not be provided with the Report). Once the Report is released, if you disagree with what the Report in any way, including but not only what the recommendations in the Report are, then there are a number of ways that the Report may be challenged, either at a final hearing or prior to it.
If you would like further information in relation to this we invite you to book an appointment with us by calling (03) 8376 7000 to discuss this (or other matters) with one of our solicitors.