Family report - now what?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Keeks, 13 June 2019.

  1. Keeks

    Keeks Active Member

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    Hopefully some straightforward (!) questions here: hoping someone might have some experience on the process the family report goes through before it gets released to the parties?

    We've just had a report done (ordered by consent by the court but by agreement, so we paid a private provider for it) and I want to understand how the report is processed from this point.

    The psychologist has been asked to have it completed within 20 days. Does the psych submit to the judge and then it gets released?

    What's involved in the judge releasing the report to the parties? Are they checking for things? Can the judge refuse to release it? What's the approval gate the report must go through?

    What sort of timeframe am I looking at here?

    Thanks in advance!!
     
  2. Jake Matherson

    Jake Matherson Well-Known Member

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    Hey Keeks,

    As you suggest the report will be completed and returned to the court.

    Then there will be a Chambers Hearing. A court hearing held in the court office that you wont attend and the Judge/Registrar will make Orders to release the Report.

    If the report is relatively straight forward they will release it and you will receive a copy of it in the mail. Or if your're represented you will get a copy from your lawyer.

    As an example, If one of the parties has serious mental problems and the report is brutal on that party.
    The report writer might make a recommendation in the report that it not to be released directly to the party, instead sent to their GP first for them to pick up from and have things explained to them.

    The Judge/Registrar would see this and make the Orders in chambers. Based on the content of my report and it still being released directly to us you don't have to worry about your report not being released/approved.

    If there has been an Order made for 20 days you would expect that its returned to the court within 20 days.
    Then heard in Chambers the following week (you will see the orders made on the court portal if you're on there) + a couple days with the postman. So probably 4-6 weeks all up.
     
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  3. Alert

    Alert Well-Known Member

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    Hello, my experience with the family report was totally different to what was mentioned to you in the post prior to mine.

    I payed for a private forensic psychologist family report. The family report the court orders is nothing compared to the report you have paid for, family court report organised within the court is worth a piece of ?.
    I did both, the report court organised and the report I payed for. It may be this way when you pay for it??

    I had access to this report within say 2wks via my solicitors office. The report is so more detailed and accurate, everything was picked up from what was observed, even the fact that the x wanted my children to dislike me ‘mother’ to disliking any family the children have on my side ‘mothers side’, grandparents etc, now check this, the x told me that he would make the children ‘hate me and their grandparents’.
    I don’t know any details of your case, my reason for saying I don’t know any details of your case is because, I have experienced conflicting suggestions or advice from other posts as my situation went for 4yrs and I thought this and that, I always say what I experienced and I now have the feeling and some feedback from what someone explained, I feel my situation was not the “norm”. So I’m just telling you what I experienced with the Family Report
     
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  4. Keeks

    Keeks Active Member

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    This is great - thanks Jake. I'd been searching for info on this process for a bit and struggled to find anything at all - all the info sheets I could find really only deal with what happens in the lead-up to the family report. Weird that it's not documented on the Family Court website when it's obviously a very important part of the whole family law process. If we can just get some broad timelines around each step leading up to court it seems to be more manageable and slightly less stressful. Thanks again
     
  5. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    The only thing I'd add is that you really do need to accept the recomendations in the report. They hold a lot of weight with the judge
     
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  6. Been2Trial

    Been2Trial Well-Known Member

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    My personal experience was that the very expensive privately funded family report done by the psych was very heavily relied upon at trial, but I am quite bitter about the incredibly lazy work the guy we agreed to do this actually produced. Very poor and inaccurate recording of details which were significant to the overall way I was presented in the report he submitted.

    The guy basically read the affidavits, read the court family report and conducted a 15min interview with myself and the ex separately in the middle of what most people would know is a normal nap time for a child around 2yrs of age.

    Just a total sham...

    You can of course have your barrister cross examine the "expert" at trial to correct some of that stuff, but it's not as straightforward as it seems.

    In my case, the final recommendations he made for custody in his report were in fact pretty supportive of what I was asking for in my final orders - so tearing his report apart in court might inadvertently make the positive custody recommendations he made less reliable...

    But more relevant to your current situation as posted - if you feel there is something that isn't presented faily about you in the report that could be detrimental to your case, book yourself in for some time with a well qualified and respected forensic psychiatrist to talk things over with them. Try and address the issues you have concerns with and give them an opportunity to see it the way you believe it is.

    A qualified forensic psych who specializes in child psychology and family counseling will trump any family court report writer in court for the final say.
     
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