It is common in Family Law proceedings where parties have not reached agreement about parenting arrangements or where allegations of ill mental health, domestic violence or substance abuse have been raised for the Court to Order that a Family Report or the ‘short form’ version known as an s11F report be prepared by a Family Consultant.
A Family Report is a document written by a family consultant appointed by the Court. It provides an independent assessment of the issues in the case and can help the Judge hearing the case to make decisions about arrangements for the children. It may also help the parties reach an agreement.
In preparing the report, the family consultant considers the family’s circumstances, explores issues relevant to the case and recommends arrangements that will best meet the child/ren’s future care, welfare and developmental needs. The best interests of the child/ren are the main focus of the report.
The report must be formally released by the Court before parties can receive it. It cannot be shown to anyone other than the parties to the court case and their lawyers. It cannot be shown to other people, such as other family members, without the Court giving permission for this to happen. This is the case even for people who may have been interviewed, but are not a party to the court case. It is also the case even if you pay for your private report – this is a confidential document produced for the purposes of the family law proceedings.
For more information on Family Reports, refer to the Family Court Fact Sheet.
If you are in need of Family Law advice please contact our best family lawyers in Melbourne on (03) 9614 7111.