How to prepare for a Family Report Interview

What is a Family Report?

A Family Report is a document prepared by a Family Report Writer or Family Consultant. It provides information about you, your children and your family to assist the Judge and the parties make decisions about what arrangements are best for the children. Family Consultants are qualified counsellors or psychologists, with skills and experience working with children and families.

How is a Child Inclusive Conference different from a Family Report?

A Child Inclusive Conference is a preliminary and limited assessment, intended to assist the Judge to make shorter-term orders and to decide on the best way for the matter to proceed. Often, these reports are quite brief and are in the form of a memorandum rather than a lengthy report. A Judge may refer a matter to a Child Inclusive Conference when the issues required to be determined are unclear.

What should I do to prepare for the Family Report Interview?

The Family Consultant will ask you questions about your family situation and the issues in dispute before the Court. The Family Consultant may also ask questions about the relationships you have with the children, your former partner and/or your views about parenting. As hard as it is, try and stay relaxed during the Family Report Interview. To help you prepare, we have devised the following three-step process to assist you with your Family Report Interview:

1. Read your Affidavit Before your Family Report Interview, we recommend that you read your Affidavit and any other Affidavit material that has been filed in your proceedings. Reading your affidavit prior to the interview will assist to jog your memory about certain events that the Family Consultant may wish to discuss with you.
Reading your affidavit prior to the interview may also ensure that the parenting arrangements you discuss with the Family Consultant are consistent with the parenting orders you have sought in your court documents.

2. Remain child-focused – It’s not about you, it’s about what’s best for your children. It is important to have clear in your mind what arrangements you want for your children and why those arrangements are best for your children. Remember, the Judge must consider what arrangements would be best for your children not only what arrangements would be convenient for you or what you believe you are entitled to.

During the Interview, the Family Consultant may also ask about the other parent’s role and relationship with the children. Expressing support for time and communication with the other parent shows that you are child-focused.

3. Be mindful of your behaviour. The Family Consultant may also be observing the interaction between you and the children and the other parent.

It is a good idea to demonstrate to the Family Consultant that you can look after the children’s physical needs. We suggest that you bring food, drinks and toys to keep the children entertained. You may also consider having in mind a play activity that you can do with the children as the Family Consultant may want to observe the children spending time with you.

It is important that you are mindful of how you speak to and about the other parent and the language you use. For instance, greeting the other parent upon arrival for the appointment may demonstrate to the Family Consultant that you can communicate with the other parent. Being able to communicate with the other parent will assist your case and benefit your children.

The Family Report Interview is an opportunity to speak about the issues you consider are important for the children so think in advance about the issues you wish to raise at the interview and any questions you may have for the Family Consultant Remember, your interview with the Family Consultant is not confidential or private. Any information you discuss with your Family Consultant may be reported to the Court.

For further information and legal advice about your family law matter contact Cornerstone Law Offices. At Cornerstone Law Offices, our lawyers will provide you with qualified advice so that you can make informed decisions and move on with your lives.

For more information on how we can help you, contact Cornerstone Law Offices on:

Phone: 1300 267 637


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