In family law matters, a report can be prepared by an ‘expert’ in relation to a child, a parent or the family (which may include new partners, grandparents and others concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child). These reports are referred to as ‘expert reports’ or ‘family reports’ or ‘medical reports’. A report in relation to a child should be commissioned ‘jointly’ by the parents and the costs associated with the report are generally shared equally between them.
A report or medical document, such as a letter from a child’s counsellor, obtained unilaterally by one parent must be disclosed to the other parent. This is not an ‘expert’ report but may be useful in negotiations to identify a child’s needs or health concerns. For example, if your child has been diagnosed by their treating Doctor as having diabetes, a medical report from that medical professional will be helpful to understand your child’s routines and special medical needs.
If a report or document is disclosed to one parent and it has not been prepared pursuant to joint instructions from both parents, it is not an ‘expert’ report. It is subjective or one sided report. A good example of a one sided report is where one parent takes a child or children to a psychologist without informing the other parent or involving them in the process.
What does a ‘family report’ entail?
An expert family report writer is either jointly engaged by the parents or appointed by order of the Court. It is useful in many parenting disputes to obtain a report prior to commencing Court proceedings and in preparation for mediation. During the reporting process, the children, parents and sometimes others involved in the care, welfare and development of your children are interviewed by the expert. If there are active Court proceedings, each parent’s court documents, information from Subpoena documents and Orders made will also be provided to the expert. The Judge allocated to your matter can also specify those matters they want the expert to consider.
At Parry Coates Family Law, we will walk you through the interview process and help you digest and interpret the expert’s report once it is released.
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