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10 Things You Should Know When Preparing For A Family Report

A Family Report is an independent assessment conducted by a Psychologist or a Family Consultant (“the Family Report Writer”) to assist in making decisions about care arrangements for children.

In particular, the Family Report Writer will conduct separate interviews with both you and the other parent, and if appropriate, they will also observe interactions between you and your child/ren. On occasion, the Family Report Writer will also request to interview or collectively meet with any other significant person involved in the child/ren’s lives, such as new partners or siblings.

To prepare for a Family Report, you are likely to be asked the following topics:    

  1. Your childhood, age, occupation, relationships and living arrangements;
  2. Your relationship with your ex-partner, including the care arrangements that were in place during the relationship and after separation;
  3. The nature of the relationship between you and your ex-partner, including your ability to co-parent effectively;
  4. The parenting arrangements proposed by each of you in your Court material;
  5. Any views or wishes expressed by the child/ren and the reasons behind those views or wishes;
  6. The relationship between you and the child/ren, as well as other significant people in the child/ren’s lives;
  7. The child/ren’s individual needs;
  8. Your capacity to provide for the child/ren’s welfare and developmental needs;
  9. Any risk factors, including family violence allegations; and
  10. Your capacity or willingness to facilitate and encourage a relationship between the child/ren and the other parent.

Other questions may be prompted, depending on the facts of your case.

When answering questions, remain child focused. If there are issues you intend on raising about the other parent, ensure that you are able to explain how such issues are relevant and their impact on the child/ren, as opposed to simply being negative or critical of the other parent.

If the child/ren are in your care when you attend upon the Family Report Writer, do not ‘coach’ the child/ren so as to influence any particular response. Instead, try to provide a general overview about the Family Report process in age-appropriate terms. Family Report Writers are experienced in recognising the signs and behaviours presented by child/ren when a parent has sought to induce a particular response.

Lastly, behave appropriately and present yourself in a tidy and respectable manner. Be considerate, courteous, and cooperative both to the Family Report Writer and all other people involved in the interview process.

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