Family Reports and your children
Family reports can take on quite a significance in parenting proceedings before the family courts, particularly in the earlier stages of a matter but also should your matter go to trial when the family report will form part of the evidence before the court. At LGM Family Law, our Brisbane child custody lawyers and child custody lawyers North Brisbane have the experience to advise you regards preparing for family reports and your parenting proceeding, including the parenting orders that you seek from the Court.
Some people at least when first starting parenting proceedings seeking final parenting orders are under the impression that the judge presiding in their matter will read their material and make a decision concerning parenting arrangements for their children. At that early stage, some people in this situation do not have much idea of the process that will be involved before a judge ever makes final orders or regards the significance of family reports to their matter.
It is always true that the judge hearing your matter will make the final decision in your matter if it goes to trial, subject to the right of appeal of each party. The evidence before the court when making that determination will include family reports. However, you should be aware that the time period between parenting proceedings actual dates for any trial can easily be some 6-8 months or longer depending upon various factors. During that period, at the appropriate time, you should be considering what offers you will make to the other party to try to settle your matter and bring the parenting proceedings to an end.
Contact our Brisbane child custody lawyers and child custody lawyers North Brisbane and child custody lawyers Brisbane Northside for free initial advice over the phone concerning your prospects for final orders in any parenting proceedings involving your children and family reports. You are also welcome to read on for further information right now regards family reports.
In the earlier stages of your parenting proceedings, you may expect that the judge will make interim parenting orders. Those orders are likely to be made at an interim hearing following the delivery of a family report. At the interim hearing, the judge will take into account recommendations made by the family report writer concerning your children’s living arrangements. Refer to section 62G Family Law Act 1975 regards power of court to order a family report to be provided.
A family report writer prepares a family report after seeing you, the other party and your children during family interviews that generally take place during one day scheduled for those interviews to occur. The report writer will see each of you, the other party and the children separately and will generally also have some time observing and interviewing each party with the children. See our related blog that tells you more about family reports.
Family reports give the family court an opportunity to gain some independent third party insight into the family dynamics and relationships within the family.
At an interim hearing, it is not uncommon for family reports to form the only independent third party evidence before the court. Unless it can be demonstrated to the court that the recommendations made in family reports are flawed for some reason, it is not unlikely that the judge in your parenting proceedings will be influenced by and may adopt those recommendations, whether in whole or in part when making interim orders for your children’s living arrangements. Those interim orders may then remain in place for some time before you may proceed to a trial of your parenting matter.
In starting a parenting proceeding then, you should understand that you are in effect inviting recommendations and decisions being given and made by third parties concerning your children and their living arrangements. There is no certainty that your view of what is occurring in your family or what those living arrangements should be will be adopted in family reports or by the court.
In situations of emergency, for example, if child abuse or family violence or the risk of child abuse or family violence is a factor or in cases where a child is being withheld from the other parent or where parties are simply unable to agree living arrangements for children, you will likely have little choice but to start a parenting proceeding.
However, where there is some prospect of reaching agreement for your children’s living arrangements and child abuse or family violence or the risk of child abuse or family violence is not a factor, it is generally advisable to make every effort to reach an amicable agreement without resorting to legal action. An amicable agreement can be documented by a parenting plan or where necessary, by consent orders which may be issued through the Registry of the Family Court of Australia without the need then to actually attend at court.
The information in this blog is general information. You will need to obtain legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances before deciding whether to start parenting proceedings and what orders or agreement you should seek for your children’s living arrangements.
Contact our friendly and experienced Brisbane child custody lawyers or child custody lawyers North Brisbane and child custody lawyers Brisbane Northside . We specialise in family law, including parenting matters. Whether you wish to negotiate a parenting agreement or need to start a parenting proceeding, we have the expertise to assist you.