Section 11A Family Law Act discusses the functions of family consultants. Furthermore, family consultants provide services for parties involved in family law proceedings. In fact, qualified psychologists or social workers can act as family consultants and provide family consultant reports. Courts also use these reports to determine the best arrangement for a child. Family consultants prepare two kinds of reports. These are:
- Child Impact report – A Court Child Expert prepares this report to inform the Court about a child’s experience and needs. They consider a variety of issues that depend on a family’s unique case. This report usually includes the impact of divorce or separation on the children.
- Family Report – On the other hand, this report outlines what is the best arrangement for a child. This report usually includes issues in a family dispute and past and present care arrangements.
Section 11A Family Law Act states that family consultants help in family disputes by using these two reports. They can also advise the court if the parties need family counselling or family dispute resolution to resolve family disputes. This blog post will discuss Section 11A Family Law Act and the other functions of a family consultant.
Section 11A Family Law Act: Why Hire Family Consultants?
It’s never easy to go through a divorce or separation especially if children are involved in the case. Thus, family consultants provide practical and emotional support in order to work with the disputed parties. Family consultants can also help these parties communicate effectively and ensure that both parties’ arguments and opinions are heard without interruption.
Additionally, the court’s Chief Executive Officers appoint family consultants according to Regulation 7 of the Family Law Regulations 1984. Some family consultants work internally (government employees) or externally (private practitioners). Courts will cover the costs of the family consultant’s services.
In fact, working with these professionals can help parties prepare for the legal procedures of a separation or divorce. Parties who aren’t ready for the incoming emotional toll can attend some additional family consultant sessions. Family consultants can adjust their approaches to suit the parties’ best interests.
FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 – SECT 11A
Functions of family consultants
The functions of family consultants are to provide services in relation to proceedings under this Act, including:
(a) Firstly, assisting and advising people involved in the proceedings; and
(b) assisting and advising courts, and giving evidence, in relation to the proceedings; and
(c) helping people involved in the proceedings to resolve disputes that are the subject of the proceedings; and
(d) reporting to the court under sections 55A and 62G; and
(e) lastly, advising the court about appropriate family counsellors, family dispute resolution practitioners and courses, programs and services to which the court can refer the parties to the proceedings..
Any information a party provides to a family consultant is NOT confidential. In fact, all of the evidence and information in a family report is considered admissible in court. Additionally, family consultants must also include any relevant information that can support their report.
Importantly, these professionals can only disclose information if they reasonably suspect children are exposed to abuse or harm. Moreover, they need to contact the police if these assumptions about abuse or violence are true. Furthermore, people who received the family report are not allowed to discuss its contents with the family consultant. In fact, family consultants can also update a family report if there are any changes to the case or relationship.
While these professionals provide excellent service and results, they are still susceptible to cross-examinations. Parenting arrangements can get really stressful, especially if parties are not aware of the legal implications behind divorce and separation. Therefore, JB Solicitors’ family lawyers are here to help clients understand their legal rights and how to protect them.
Our family lawyers have years of experience in family law that can help parties understand divorce, separation, and parenting arrangements. Furthermore, we can work with family consultants if parties need our mediation services to resolve a dispute. Parties who opt for our mediation services can draft their own agreements and solutions that reflect their best interests.
Contact a family lawyer today at JB Solicitors.