G'day crew,hope we are all chuggin along as good as can be expected….can anyone tell me if they have read a guideline or protocol type document etc. regarding family consultant interviews………
Moderator Note Sections of original post have been deleted. To the poster, read the guidelines about postings. You asked a question and then started venting - there is a forum for that. Please use the sites built in spell checker before making future posts.
If you use the site search I believe there is a lot of material on the site about what to expect in these reports. I recall one forum post that gave extensive notes, carefully worded to avoid any identification of the parties and clinician but was helpful to give an incite into what goes on. One thing to know is there are different types of family report. You can end up with a report just before you go to a hearing. Other reports are scheduled with various family members over a long period of time and sometimes are even sent back to be done again if there is a major change such as the mother decided to re marry and the Judicial Officer wants to asses the impact of that event on the children. Nothing is certain in these things so don't plan any certainty around completion.
It is very hard to get a guideline on something that is a closed shop. That is, reports may not be published and distributed outside the legal practitioners and court, however the ex gets to read it and this can compound what is already a poor relationship into an even worse and nightmare relationship when the ex reads what you said and the relatives hear about it and so on. Whether we like it or not bits of these reports sneak out in warring families and into common usage.
Apart from the large cost impost on the parties a biased report can do significant damage to the ability of one parent to see the children. At least until well down the track which can be months and years of litigation which brings everyone to their knees financially. What I do suggest (and I have said this in other posts over many years) is that you treat these meetings with a great deal of caution as the outcomes will absolutely determine what information gets to the courts and is relied on. The psycho analysis starts from the moment you enter the building and it is surprising what sort of comments turn up in these reports. "The children hid under the table when introduced to the father" (Omits to say that the mother had refused all contact for the children for fifteen months and subsequent investigations as well as hearings showed that the mother had "coached" the children for some time to believe the father was something he was not… "the child burst into tears and ran to the mother when the mother was about to leave the room" (Omits to say that the father had not seen the 3 year old for over a year because the mother refused to allow contact and the mother said goodbye and the child thought that the mother was never coming back)… "The father came in with a suitcase full of papers and expected to lay out the case. He seems to be obsessive in wanting to have shared care", "the mother clutched the children closely and did not appear to allow the children to have an independent view as they looked at her every time before they spoke" (Omits to dwell on the fact that the children had never met the interviewer before, were nervous and that the mother had been distressed over some earlier discussions)… None of these are taken verbatim from reports but are a recant of the sorts of things that come up. You also have to be very careful with abusive and warring parents. It is often better to remove children from such an environment and there are genuines cases out there and the definition of abuse is now wide.
Much care must be taken in these interviews. There is no doubt that some sort of psychoanalytic analysis takes place that has some focus on obsessions and compulsions as well as mental health issues. These are a subject on their own and can be written about extensively. We have some clients who express much dissatisfaction with these expert reports. There is merit in some of the complaints, others are far more complex. I cannot give any definitive statement on a guideline in preparing for such a meeting other than to suggest it is unwise to take in suitcases of file notes, affidavits and the like and to be positive and upbeat about having a relationship with the children. Even when the report writer tells you that you are pushing the proverbial daisy up a gum tree asking for shared care don't despair, but get some decent legal help as I know of a number of really good outcomes even when it seems that it is the darkest of hours and all hope might be lost. There are some really excellent judgements out there, some excellent judicial officers and even better some very happy children.
Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
Thanks for the informative reply sec.My original question was severely edited by mods as admittedly i morphed from question into vent(totally warrented & no hards mr mod.)Oh hindsight hey? I have already been through the ordeal & let's just say my belief & fears of the interigation & its possible ramifications were confirmed upon receipt of the report.I'm aware of the old saying jails are full of innocent persons & i don't hold a paranoid belief usually of any type of interview/assessment/waterboarding- …..As you touched on there was written of ' some time to respond verbally to father-initially responded with noises.Yet no mention of her ( my view at least ) kwirky cute habit of standing proud,head tilted & smiling harder than a chesire cat ! She's a toddler for gawd sake & not seeing me for 5 weeks since the 12th contact centre visit( 2 awesome reports from them).Ah i honestly seem to have lost ability to make any sense out of any of it tbh. A bit hard to take when youve jumped through the hoops,the child is recorded as "bored here ,I want to go to your house & we can play in my cubby",contact centre women(god bless 'em all) genuinely shocked to see us back for visits 7-12 only to read recomendation of another 6 months(not visits-months) seems due to the wellworn anxiety of the mother caused by her 'concerns of child with father'.Cynical old tw*t i maybe but i don't see the childs best interests being met when she has also divulged to a counsellor 'issues relating to seperating from her mum,even for school,missing her dad & being sad at end of centre visits because "its so long till I can see him again".My current theory is they are deliberate in provoking future court appearances to be cross examined on their baffling reports.Probably counts timewise in some module on their quest to a higher level of qualification.