By Lauren Oswin

3 June 2022

The Court often requires additional information about the experiences and needs of the child/ren in the context of the parenting dispute before them and so that it may consider what future arrangements are in the best interests of the children.  

When additional information is required, then the parties may agree to attend upon or an order may made by the Court for the parties and the child/ren to attend upon a Court Child Expert (a qualified psychologist or social worker) for the purpose of the preparation of a Child Impact Report.

 

A Child Impact Report is a preliminary report that assists the Registrar or Judge hearing the matter to better understand what is happening for the child/ren and make decisions about how the matter should be managed and/or progressed.

 

While the process varies case by case, to prepare the Child Impact Report, the Court Child Expert will conduct to interviews in two parts:

 

  1. Part 1 – Parent Meeting

The Court Child Expert meets with each party individually. Part 1 usually takes approximately 90 minutes and is often conducted electronically. The purpose of Part 1 is to allow the Court Child Expert to better understand the circumstances of the matter including whether there is any family violence or risk issues that may impact the child/ren.

 

  1. Part 2 – Child Meeting

The Court Child Expert will then meet with the child/ren. This occurs on a separate day to Part 1. Depending on the matter the Court Child Expert will also observe the child/ren with each parent. In some matters, where there is a risk to the child or where the child has not seen or spent time with the other party in sometime (if ever), Part 2 may not occur.

 

Child Impacts Reports can be pivotal evidence in the progression of your matter or litigation and in the determination of what arrangements will be implemented by the Court for your children.

 

If you have any questions in relation to the above or have an upcoming Child Impact Report interview or a family law issue and require further advice or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the TLFC family law team on (03) 8600 9333 and we will be happy to assist you.

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