Going through a separation- What is a Family Report?

Going through a separation- What is a Family Report?

Are you going through a separation or divorce and need a family report in Bendigo?

What is a Family Report?
Family Reports are prepared when the Court requires assistance to make a determination, due to disputes relating to the appropriate parenting arrangements for the children. The family report writer’s role is to make observations and recommendations about the care and living arrangements which would be in the best interests of the children.A Family Report offers an independent view of the matters in dispute, which ultimately assists the Court in reaching a decision as to the arrangements which are in the best interests of the children. The Family Report writer is prepared by a Family Consultant who is appointed by the Court and is usually a qualified person who has relevant experience in matters involving children and their needs.

The process
Interviews are conducted with each parent, and the Family Consultant also has an opportunity to observe each parent’s interaction with the children.
Depending on the children’s age, they also will be interviewed. By interviewing the children, allows the Family Consultant to discuss with the children their views, concerns and/or wishes going forward. The Family Consultant also has the opportunity to read relevant material before the Court such as the parties Affidavits.

If the Court has ordered a Family Report be completed, you must attend. If you do not attend, the report may not be able to be completed by the date set for the next hearing, which may result in delay and additional cost.

What may be discussed with the consultant.
Some of the topics that maybe discussed with the Family Consultant include: –
• The parenting capacity of both parties and  the care arrangements throughout the relationship and post separation;
• Any potential risks or harm to the child/ren and the child/ren’s relationship with other significant people, such as stepparents and grandparents,
• The child/ren’s views or wishes and any practical difficulties with the care arrangements; and,
• The effect of any change in circumstance on the child/ren;

Following the interviews, the Family Consultant will prepare the report with recommendations for the care arrangements relating to the children, which is then sent to the Court. The Court will then formally release the report to the parties to read. The Report must not be shown to any other person unless permission is given by the Court by way of a Court Order.

If you would like to speak with a lawyer in Bendigo in  relation to family law or the above topic or any other areas of Family Law, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our office to arrange an appointment with one of our lawyers.