Family law matters often concern very personal and complicated issues. The Court can sometimes be assisted by a Family Consultant who obtains further evidence in relation to the parents, children and other people who have an interest in the care, welfare, and development of the children.
Family consultants are qualified social workers or psychologists who are tasked by the court to conduct meetings with parents/carers and children to gather information about the family’s situation.
There are two types of family consultant conferences that the court may order: child dispute conferences and child inclusive conferences.
The key difference is that the latter obliges the direct involvement of the child/children and the former does not (although both require parent’s participation and are designed to discuss and suggest strategies to benefit the child/children).
After interviews and discussions with the family, the consultant will produce a memorandum that will assist the court in the determination of the case.
The memorandum will detail the domestic circumstances, outlining issues faced by the parties and children, as well as any risks and suggestions to be considered in the deliberation process. The children’s views can also be considered by the Family Consultant.
Every case is different, so it’s important that families engage and cooperate with these meetings to ensure their unique situation is considered.
Family law can be complex and emotionally exhausting. If you require common-sense, jargon-free legal advice, contact our expert lawyers on (02) 4902 3800.