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Family Consultant Report weighting

How much weight does the Family Consultant Report hold, and what are my chances at 50/50?

Hi

I have to say from my personal experience what was mentioned in our family reports definately had a lot of weight.  I was pleasantly surprised to read that the report writer saw through my ex's lies.  Althought I don't know your case nor am I legally educated but I would say from what I have read you have a very very good chance of getting 50/50.  Just make sure you stick to the idea that it is in the best interest of the child and don't bad mouth the mother at all but more say you have concerns regarding ……… (whatever it is you don't agree with that your ex does).  If you can communicate a bit then that makes it all so much easier.   My ex refuses to talk to me and still does.  We did 50/50 - week on week off for 1 year and then he told the courts it was not working (only because he wanted them to live with him full time - he was on to a good thing getting all that money from Centrelink for 4 children not to mention the child support I still had to pay him even though we did 50/50) 

So yes I would say you have a very good chance!  Good luck with it all!!
I would reiterate what mumof4 says. Stay positive about your ex, don't bad mouth at all. If she brings it up simply refute it and say this is the first time it has EVER been raised and there is nothing to support it. Be thourough and meticulous but concise and do not dwell on it. Focus on all the good communication, ABOUT THE CHILD. What you have done together for and with the child, what desicions you have made together for the child. What discussions you have had about the child. How you have been able to work TOGETHER for the child. Have some really good examples of this. The court doesn't really care if you can talk to your ex about the weather, although it can't hurt. The fact that things get "strained" when you talk about " more time" is why your are at court and can be played down. IE we communicate fine about everything else but just can't agree on time.

You are in a solid position with no claims of communication problems or conflict or poor parenting etc and a favourable family report. A Family Report carries significant weight and the judge often follows it. However it can be dicredited and it's weight reduced. Have a look at it from the other sides point of view. How was it prepared, Is it biased, Are there some contradictions, Have some keys elements been missed, dismissed or overlooked, Are there any unworkable recommendations? Prepare your responses to this. Is the report writer to be cross examined. I would suggest you would not be asking for this.

The question may be asked , why is it in the childs best interests to have 50/50. Prepare a GOOD answer for this and practice it on your friends to see how it sounds. It might be clear in your head but can come out sounding riduculous.

Case laws supporting your application will be one of your biggest allies. Make sure you have them prepared. There are case laws that do not support your application. Have a look at those and be prepared to distinguish them in case she brings them up.

The 3 keys elements for a final hearing are preparation, preparation, preparation. If you have any time after this see if you can prepare some more.

"When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can not hurt you"
I have just been through the family law court, I have two children.  

And the family report writer got it wrong and the magistrate did not rule by the report at the end of the day, as I guess he made his own observations at the end of the day and came to his own conclusions.  

Apparently it does hold a lot of weight, but the magistrate does not necessarily hold this as his ruling.  

I am forced to do 50/50 through this new legislation and it is not in the best interests of the children, they miss out on a lot also when school starts they need routine and consistency and not 50/50, probably significant and substantial time, probably Friday night to Sunday night three times a month, as when school starts mum will need quality time as well with the child, as mum's get together with their children for play time and in this situation they do not feel comfortable with the father, especially if the mum is being a good mother to young children they need a stable and predictable environment and living out of suitcases does not provide this as I am seeing first hand.  

The truth cannot be revealed with the help of lawyers as I just found out as an expensive exercise.  

The legislation is being reviewed as 50/50 is not working and high conflict families with violence cannot operate to co parent in this current legislation and it is not in the children's best interest.  

I would advise to withdraw your application and be grateful for what you have as there is a reason you two have split up and it also affects your child.  

I also have a 3 year old and he does not like going every week he cries and doesn't want to go and I have to force him to go.  How is this in the best interests of the child? this is what will happen to your child especially if they have bonded with the mother why would you want to take that away from your child.  

If you want to be a good father then do the best you can with what you have got and you can phone every day to talk with the child on the phone you do not have to talk with the mother.  You can also be part of the decision making and if required go to mediation to get this sorted out, so it is not in front of the child if you cannot agree and make a genuine effort to compromise for the best interests of your child.  

My mother doesn't get to see the children often but she does ring every day regardless where they are and when she sees them they love her to bits, this can also be your story and don't play victim just be a good father with the best intentions for your child not your own agenda to get even with your ex-wife.

Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

I was really disappointed to read the post from "children", as it is obviously not children who have written it. It would appear that "in your opinion" the family report writer got it wrong. It would appear (on the face of it) that there were very strong and compelling reasons as to why your case ended up in court, and why you did not get the outcome that you wanted (children forced to have a dad on weekends only).

It is disappointing to see you use the phrase that you are "forced to do 50/50", as the father is probably very happy now that he has the opportunity to spend more time with "his" children. Remember that the children are the result of a union of the two of you, and are not your personal possession. It would appear that "is not in the best interest of the children" is your opinion and not that of the court if the judge has decided that 50/50 is the best way forward and is in the best interest of the children to enable them to have and maintain relationships with both parents.

I am unclear as to why you would say that they do not feel comfortable with the father. Have you allowed the children to have time with their father (one of their parents) without allowing your own predjudices about their father being shown to them. It would appear that you are still very angry about the whole thing, and are having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that the courts have decided against you and have granted the children equal access to both parents. In court there is quite often a "winner" and a "loser", how about in this case it should be considered that the children are the "winners".

As for living out of suitcases, hopefully dad will be given the opportunity to provide his own clothes for the children to wear when they are with him. You need to remember that you chose him to be their parent as well, at least let him have a go at being their parent. No one is perfect, and I am sure that there are things that given time, he can become a "good parent". And would you, if the father were to ring every day as per your request, would you actually let him to talk to the children. My husband has been on the receiving end of the unanswered calls, and all the excuses.

I am really disappointed to see a "good mother" willing to not allow the children to have a relationship with their dad. Why is more important for the children to bond with the mother rather than the father?

And as for the legislation being reviewed, people seem to forget that there are plenty of cases that either don't make it to court because the custodial parent has just worn the non-custodial parent down through all their bickering, that there are children out there who are benefiting from spending half their time with each parent, that not all court cases are because there is violence, there are so many other things.

To say that this post has caused me some distress is an understatement. How dare one parent decide that they should be the ones with complete control over the children. I am the middle of two completely different situations. The father of my own children doesn't wish to spend time with his children (one suburb away) and my husband is being denied the regular access that he used to have with his child, because the mother unilaterally decided to move over 900km away. We only see him every three months, although I am unsure as to whether she will "allow" the child to "visit" us this coming holidays.
Andykay, very well said. Children's post sounded like a "too bad if you don't have enough time, suck it up, the mother has spoken" to me. Why should Teifi not have at least equal time raising his child? Parents are equally involved in "making" the baby and thank god that the good men are doing their best to be equally involved in raising them.
children, it's true what you're saying….50/50 is great when the parents work together as a team for the best interests of the child, though it must still be stressful for the kids to go yo-yoing back and forwards from one house to the next..

but in conflicted situations, the outcomes for children are poor at best.

Best outcomes are from one stable home with regular contact with the non-residential parent.

research bears this out ans it's also common sense.

I know of kids who go to swimming, dance or soccer lessons and the like only once a fortnight because the other parent won't take them.  How do kids build skillks and make friends with such haphazard arrangements?

As to the Reports, in my case it certainly held a lot of weight. and I think they do in general. 

Veni, vidi, vici
Valonas said
Best outcomes are from one stable home with regular contact with the non-residential parent.

research bears this out ans it's also common sense.


What a load of cobblers. Whatever you are smoking, sniffing or drinking please send me some as I sometimes need to escape from reality.
would you like to live at one house one week and another house the next and so on and so on..?
leaving stuff here and there, having two sets of rules, constant conflict and it just goes on and on.
I feel sorry for those poor kids.  Unless, of course the parents are working together amicably, but then those parents usually work out a better rotuine for the kids.
It's mostlt the highly conflcited ones that get court-ordered to 50/50.  Cruel irony for the kids.

As for your chemicals, Cone-an, by the sound of it, you're already well stocked up.  Good Night!

Veni, vidi, vici
Valonas said
would you like to live at one house one week and another house the next and so on and so on..?
leaving stuff here and there, having two sets of rules, constant conflict and it just goes on and on.
I feel sorry for those poor kids. Unless, of course the parents are working together amicably, but then those parents usually work out a better rotuine for the kids.
It's mostlt the highly conflcited ones that get court-ordered to 50/50. Cruel irony for the kids.

As for your chemicals, Cone-an, by the sound of it, you're already well stocked up. Good Night!

Did you read the post from the Senior Moderator about spell checking? or are you too busy ramming your misguided opinions down our throats?

The law brought into effect by the Howard governement for 50/50 shared parental responsiblilty is in theory a good one. It looks at what is in the best interest of the children. This presumption is looked at when there is the conflict family situation. I have worked in the area of child abuse and domestic violence and in those situations there are mothers and fathers who do not deserve the 50/50 presumption. Domestic violence is very overly reported as being a male on female situation.  There is a lot of support to show that female on male is just as prevalent but is under reported to Police. Unfortunately Females are subjected to in maojority of cases to physical violence where males are subjected to emotional, and verbal abuse.  BOTH incidents are serious and should be dealt with by authorities.

How does this go with best interests of the children? Well let me say and my own opinion is that the children should have equal time with both parents. If there is conflict then it is the child we should be looking at to see whether the reason for not going to one aprent or the other is due to the other parents prejudices. Yes if there is proven Domestic Violence from either parent this should be taken into account, BUT is there any reported or proven violence against the child??

Yes a man or woman can be violent, argumentative, disrespectful towards the ex-partner and this goes from both ends BUT has that person exhibited those actions towards the child. I would suggest not.

Yes as the mother or father you do not get along and BOTH argue about the children does this make one parent more wrong than the other, i think not I would suggest both are acting like children and the kids are the true adults in these matters.

I would love 50/50 but do not at this stage due to work. I will ask in the future when both my two children go to school to change to 50/50 to work in with my exes roster and mine. I guess I am lucky as my ex and i get along fairly amicably on most occassions.  I know for a fact that my kids love both of us as parents and it would be so unfair on them not to see both of us equally.  I actively promote my ex wife to the kids every time i have them. My kids are unbelievably happy with both of us.  They know that we dont live together and that is not a bad thing, the kids have clothes at my house and clothes at her house. My kids are 5 and 3 (almost 4) and I think if either of us were to stop each other from seeing the kids it would destroy them.  My kids are well adjusted to the so called yo-yo'd effect as when together we worked opposite shifts to allow for care of our children.  All the child care and kindergarten officials say that the kids are remarkably adjusted and mature about the situation. I guess in my instance I am lucky because we have worked together as best as we acan to provide stable home life, as my daughter has said she is lucky she has two houses, two lots of friends outside of school and two lots of interests, the things we do with mummy and the things we do with daddy.

So i guess the point I have is that the current law is good, the way it is applied is failing the children.

Food for thought
Evolve People!
The term 50/50 does not exist!
How can we advocate or Self Represent when simple things are not understood?
Here is a prior post:

Let us first consider what "Equal Shared Parental Responsibility" means by definition;

We know the meaning of "Parental Responsibility", this is found in 61B of the Family Law Act:

In this Part, parental responsibility, in relation to a child, means all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to children.

The term "Equal Shared" is not defined in the Act.


Section 61C provides that each parent of a child has parental responsibility for that child subject to court orders.

Section 61D(1) provides some assistance, perhaps. it states:


A parenting order confers Parental Responsibility for a child on a person, but only to the extent to which the orders confer on the persons duties, powers, responsibilities or authority in relation to a child. That is, a court can limit the extent of parental responsibility each parent has' A parent may only be given such responsibility as is appropriate for that child.

Section 65DAC provides that where an order is made sharing parental responsibility between two or more people and the exercise of that responsibility involves making major long-term decisions about the child, each of those people is required to consult the other about the decisions and to make a genuine effort to come to an agreement.


"Major long term issue" is defined in section 4 of the Act. It is the sharing of decision-making for children as it is related to issues about the care, welfare and development of children of a long-term nature,
including (but not limited to):
the child's education
the child's religious and cultural upbringing
the child's health
the child's name
changes to the child's living arrangements that make it significantly more difficult for the child to spend time with a parent.

Moreover:
The sharing of parental responsibility triggers the application of section 65DAC. It is not necessary for parental responsibility to be shared equally.
The Full Court of the Family Court considered the effect of section65DAC in the decision of Goode & Goode.

' The Full Court said:
We therefore  consider it clear that there is a difference between parental responsibility which
exists as a result of s 6lC  and an order for shared parental responsibility, which has the effect set out in s65DAC- In the former, the parties may still be together or may be separated. There will be no court order in effect and the parties will exercise
the responsibility either independently or jointly. once the court has made an order allocating parental responsibility between two or more people, including an order for equal shared parental responsibility, the major decisions for the long-term care and welfare of children must be made jointly, unless the court otherwise provides
.,

The presumption of equal shared parental responsibility in section 6l DA
should be considered in the light of the following:

ii)It does not apply if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a parent of a child, or a person who lives with a parent of a child, has engaged in family violence or child abuse.

It can be rebutted by evidence that it is not in the child's best interests for the presumption to apply.

iii) It does not relate to the time that children will spend with a parent.

iv") It does not mandate how parental responsibility is to be shared. That is, parents are not necessarily required to live in the same
area.
Parents will not necessarily be required to speak to each other, to be in the presence of each other, or to abandon
protection orders or domestic violence orders. It will not force a person to come into physical contact with the other.

Undoubtedly it is hard for parents to make decisions jointly if they are unable to communicate in some form. However, if
reasonable communication is not possible, then it is unlikely that the presumption will be applied as it will either be a case
involving allegations of violence or it will not be in the best interests of children.

Truth is Teifi 50/50 shared time does not need both parents to get on it simply needs them to have the best interests of their child at heart. This is why it is a rarity and usually needs to be fought for. You will find one parent has a need to control the situation and have the " lions share " of control, this could reflect in assets, property, children and money.

Children are willing to accept their situation and if it is encouraged by both parents so the children realize this is normal for them they will flourish because of the balance 50/50 gives them. Of course this is not aspired to by those who want mothers to be in total control of children, this section of the population will always propose the negative aspects of " two homes " and work towards discriminating against something they know absolutely nothing about, nor in fact do they have any experience of unless you consider their personal experience of ruining their own childrens lives.

50/50 can and does work and if both parents accept that and work towards the benefits for their children then the children flourish, one thing that prevents this from happening is when a parent does not accept shared care and constantly works on destroying it at the cost of their children and there are plenty of mums around just like this.

Keep working towards your goals focused on the best interests of your children, trust me it is worth the battles.

D4E
That is fantastic to hear Teifi.  It is always a good thing when things can be sorted out for the best for everyone.  I do agree with you that a family report has a huge weight on a case.  Well that is my experience anyway.  I suppose when I come to think about it the report writer has everyone's affidavits which has everyone's evidence etc but that person is also privey to interviewing both parties and on most occassions the children too.  I feel my report writter really knew what was going on in my case and it was great to read the report and see that she saw exactly how controlling my ex was etc but also she saw the things that I was not good at (if we are honest we can all say there are things we should do better as a parent) She was also privey to school reports, medical reports etc and it is very hard to hide the truth when all this evidence comes up. 

So yes I do agree that the family report has a lot of weight and it is always best to be honest with the report writer because the truth will come up in other documents.  Honesty is the key!!!

Once again congratulations Teifi!!!  I hope you get to spent lots of wonderful time with your gorgeous son!!!
Congratulations Teifi, Good luck with all the joys of parenting…

D4E - some of us mums actually want our children to see their dad's - my ex is an abusive, controlling **** BUT my younger children love him, they are confused by his behaviours, his constant referrals to not telling mum this or that, and I am very concerned for their emotional and mental safety while they are with, and yes also their physical safety (both myself and our eldest daughter have suffered this form as well as the others).
I do however consistently attempt to give him time (with safeguards the children are comfortable with), however unless it is organised his way he won't agree - then I can't hand them over (we currently have no orders - applications in court currently)he has said in DVO court things along the lines of "won't bother to give them back" (reference to himself), and utterly denies any abuse, in DVO court - although in his affadavit he admits to having 'once' hit me, but NEVER the children.
I do apologise - I believe I have started to digress, my point is there are women out here who do try to get equal or at least substantial time with the ex's  - only to have the ex's throw it all away 'because its not the way they want it' - in my ex's immortal words at a DVO incident at my residence in front of the children "I don't care what the children want - we have an agreement - I'm going to enforce it" (all I had suggested was that he listen to his children and talk to them).
Sorry if you took offense at my words Wiccapixie they were not directed to any specific person by more as support to Tiefi and his situation. Sometimes we may need to stray from political correctness to re-affirm the good and the need to push forward against those who I described in my reply, rest assured if you are not one of those who wants to force fathers away from their children you are appreciated, respected and loved by those who have had our childrens mothers do despicable things, we know all mothers are not the same but at times we do need to be specific about those who are a problem.

All best D4E
Wiccapixie said
….he has said in DVO court things along the lines of "won't bother to give them back" (reference to himself),
Probably a lot of built up frustration at himself more than anything and a throw away line to get some reaction. Deep down he is unhappy that he has no control of the situation which seems to be escalationg out of control in respect to contact arrangements.
Wiccapixie said
… my point is there are women out here who do try to get equal or at least substantial time with the ex's  - only to have the ex's throw it all away 'because its not the way they want it' - in my ex's immortal words at a DVO incident at my residence in front of the children "I don't care what the children want - we have an agreement - I'm going to enforce it" (all I had suggested was that he listen to his children and talk to them).
There is sure some frustration here and if you are a bloke you might understand what is going on. Sage is the required Moderator in this discussion. Does "Men are from Mars" have any impact here? Sometimes when you are wanting contact and expecting time and that is threatened in any form it can result in the sort of frustrated lashing out in the described post. Talk to a relationship counsellor for strategies as the strategy is clearly not working in this case.


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
 
I have a Family Report due before my final hearing in mid 2010. After reading the posts here I have some hope that it will be a fair assessment and be in the best interests of the children. I have a Procedural Hearing in November and hope that some reasonable arrangements can be made. I have doubts about that but I am always hoping for a fair and reasonable outcome.

HELP!!!!!

i have just recieved my family report 1 day before going back to court and my ex has lied through the whole report. Quoting things that she has done to me as my own behaviour towards her. The report writer has bought the charade hook line and sinker and advised the court accordingly. Has anyone out there got any advice as to how to approach court as I feel that I  have been totally shatfted pretty much for just being my 2 boys father. I dont know how she can keep getting away with these things. Through the whole break up she has breached orders withheld my 2 sons denied access been violent towards myself my new partner (and her 5 year old daughter). She also has difficulty with one of my sons behaviour as he doesnt want to be at her house.  Has anyone got any words of incouragement?????:)
If the family report is shown to be based on the incorrect facts it can be discredited. Organize your evidence of the facts for rebuttal accordingly. Did the family reporter take account of the fact that … or did he see or how does he account for the behavior of the dad son, how are the child’s wishes expressed…

The court is particularly trenchant about breaches of its orders, (at least for dads). Make sure to make this point with the corroborating evidence, orders, dates, repetitions, reasons, etc ready to present. An important aspect in the family report is the assessment of the parents likelihood to comply with the orders.

It might be useful to have an affidavit from your partner specifying Mother’s family violence towards your new partner and young child. You have not specified the recommendations and any conditionals of those recommendations. If the court date is a final hearing I would be thinking of an adjournment. One day is not sufficient time to prepare a case against family report.
do2

I empathise with you. The same thing happened to me.  I received my Family Report just 3 business days before my Final Hearing.

It was full of lies, defamation, totally biased, a very unbalanced report and unfair. I was shocked by it. I asked for an Adjournment due to the lateness of the Report during the Final Hearing to rebut the Family Report.  The Magistrate took a vote, 2 against 1 (Counsel for ICL & Counsel for Respondent, against me) and because of that did not allow it, nor give sufficient reasons for not allowing an adjournment.

I did however effectively demonstrate during cross examination of the Family Report writer that the report was flawed, based on incorrect and mistaken facts, unread information claimed to have been read, and false groundless assumptions discrediting the Family Report and credibility of the Family Report writer.

However, the Magistrate ignored this, and the Family Report was weighted heavily in the Judgement resulting in an Appeal of the case.

According to the Family Law Rules a report should be produced to the court 28 days prior to a Final Hearing and 21 days to the party before the Hearing.  If a report is adverse to a party that party should be made aware of this so that they can have sufficient time to address this before the Hearing. One day is not sufficient time, and I would definitely be asking for an adjournment.

I had to lodge a complaint about the Family Report writer in my case to the relevant registration board which was then taken up by the Health Care Complaints Commission.    I suggest you also look up the relevant code of conduct applicable to the credentials of the Family Report writer.  This may be of use to you in your request for an adjournment and rebuttal of the report writer.

Let us know what happens?

I'm sorry I can't be of much further use.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  M K Gandhi
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