Understanding Family Report in Australia
A Family Report is a report prepared by a Family Consultant which can be court appointed or privately funded. Family Consultants are generally experienced and qualified psychologists or social workers who work with families and children.
The Role of Family Consultant
The Family Consultant will conduct interviews with each parent, and a separate interview with the children. The children will be asked to express their views and wishes. The Family Consultant may also observe the children and their interactions with the parents.
If the matter is before the court, then the Family Consultant will require copies of all materials filed. The Family Consultant will need to gather information on any issues in dispute, parenting arrangements, parenting capacity, the children’s relationships with anyone of significant and any risks to the children. The Family Consultant may also request to contact the children’s psychologists, teachers or doctors.
The report provides an assessment of the issues in dispute and puts forth recommendations as to the best interest of the children’s welfare and development. Whilst the Court is not bound by the recommendations made in the Family Report, the Court will consider the report when making its decision.
If you do not agree with the contents of the Family Report, you can challenge its contents through cross-examination in court. The Family Consultant must be called as a witness and be provided 14 days’ notice in writing.
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