Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose a Family Consultant?
Generally, your solicitor or counsel may advise you, or a list of three consultants is prepared via consultations with the other party, from which you can elect one.
Do I have to attend the interview?
Yes. A day for interviews is usually agreed when the process of choosing a report writer commences.
Will I receive any preparatory information before the interview?
Before your interviews, you will receive: a letter informing you of the structure and timing of your interviews; a more detailed document with further information about the process (click here); and the screening questionnaire (explained in that same document).
Who must attend with me?
The children (if they are in your care on the day of interview), and your current partner (if you are residing together). After considering the material, I may request that other people also attend.
How much does a Family Report cost?
The cost can vary between report writers and is also prefaced on the amount of material (affidavits, subpoenas etc) to be viewed, and other factors.
A quote is provided upon the initial inquiry. In considering the cost of a report it is important to keep in mind that most Family Reports require at least three full days of work, and have to comply with the strict standards expected within the Court.
Should I bring lunch or snacks?
Yes, and there are also shops nearby.
Are there public toilets available in the building?
Yes, although there are no nappy changing facilities.
Is parking or public transport available?
Do I have to attend for the entire day?
Yes. Usually interviews continue until 4pm or later.
What if something comes up at the last minute and I can't attend?
The interviews have been scheduled well ahead for a date to which all parties have agreed. The date is also set to allow sufficient time for a report to be ready prior to the next Court date.
If you have a genuine emergency, please phone your solicitor or the Family Consultant as soon as possible to explain your situation.
What if I am frightened of seeing my ex-partner at the interviews?
Please refer to the detailed material and the screening process which occurs prior to interviews.
What if my children are too anxious to attend or to be interviewed?
It is important that you explain to your children that attendance is mandatory but that if they do not wish to talk, they will not be forced to do so.
Explain that the rooms will be a safe place but also that while it might be a strange and uncomfortable environment for them, the process is crucial to decide what are the best arrangements for them going forward.
The best way to encourage them is by not demonstrating any anxiety you may feel about the process, but by talking about the interviews as a way of everyone being listened to and their views heard.
Will my ex-partner be allowed to see the children if they have an Order in place restricting contact?
If an Order stipulates that contact with one parent be supervised, then contact between the children and that parent during the assessment will be supervised by the report writer.
When will the report be released?
Usually three to four weeks after the interviews.
Does payment for the report have to be made before it is released?
Yes, but not before the interviews occur. If the cost is being shared between the parties, then the report is released after both payments are received.
I've been asked to attend an updated report - what is that and why are we seeing the Family Consultant again?
An updated report is an assessment which provides updated information about the family and children in the period since the earlier assessment. The length of time of the interviews is generally shorter for that reason.