What is a Family Report?
If your matter is in Court then the Court may require a Family Report. This report provides information to the Court about you, your children and the other parent and extended family in some instances. The Court then uses the information and any recommendations to assist in identifying what is in the children’s best interests.
Who writes the Family Report?
The report is written by an accredited specialist appointed by the Court. These specialists are often social workers or psychologists with extensive experience working with children and families. Although these specialists are often appointed by the Court the Court still considers them to be independent experts in family matters.
How is the information for a Family Report obtained?
The report writer will meet with the parents (and their partners if applicable) and the children. This is done privately with each of the parents and the children, and then with each parent with the children. These interviews are conducted at the report writer’s office and, depending on the age of the children, the report writer may either interview the children or involve them in more “play activities” where they can observe the children and their interaction with their parents.
The report writer will try to collect as much information about your family as they can including the following:
- Your family and relationship history including parenting roles;
- Your children and their current needs;
- Your children’s relationship with extended family and other members of your family;
- Your view about what may be in the best interests of your children and the other parent’s views;
- Any issues or concerns about safety;
- What the current arrangements are and what is happening in the children’s lives;
- The children’s views if they want to tell the report writer.
Once these interviews have been conducted the report will be written and usually filed in the Court.
Who will see the Report?
Only people directly involved with the matter will be given a copy or be allowed to see the report. These people include the parents, their legal representatives and the Judge hearing your matter.
The Family Report may contain recommendations to the Court.
These recommendations may include parental roles and responsibility, time spending with each parent, significant others and recommendations about communication. If there are safety concerns there may be recommendations to reduce these risks including the need for supervised time. Some reports contain recommendations for parents to undertake further parenting courses that assist in co-parenting and communication.
How do I explain the Family Report process to the children?
It might assist for you to watch these short information animations released by the Family Court. They are aimed at children aged 5 to 8 years and 9 to 12 years.
The links are below:
Why am I seeing a family consultant? children 5 to 8 years https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=fRrziXHGSaM&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DjWS6RASzt1M%26feature%3Dshare
Why am I seeing a family consultant? Children 9 to 12 years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrSfPf7zsts&feature=share
Good luck and if you require any further advice please call our office to arrange an appointment.