What is a Child Inclusive Conference and a Family Report?

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Published by Preston Law on 10/05/2021

If you are negotiating parenting arrangements or are already in the Court process, you may have heard about a Child Inclusive Conference and Family Report. 

Both the Child Inclusive Conference Memorandum and Family Report provide the Court with an independent assessment of the issues in a case. They are prepared by family consultants who are social workers or psychologists that are experienced in working with children and families who are experiencing separation.

Child Inclusive Conference

A Child Inclusive Conference is a meeting between the parties and children and a family consultant. The purpose of the Conference is to assist the Court to make interim orders and determine how the matter should proceed. Additionally, it may assist the parties with negotiating an agreement early in the proceedings. 

The Family Consultant interviews the parties and the children separately to form an understanding of the issues in a case, identify any risks and consider what the best path forward may be. Children are given an opportunity to express their views if it is appropriate. Sometimes grandparents or partners of the parties may be interviewed if they have a significant role in raising the children. 

The information gathered by the family consultant is reported to the Court in a Child Inclusive Conference Memorandum. 

Family Report

Family Reports are much more detailed than Child Inclusive Conference Memorandums. A Family Report is a thorough overview of the family circumstances which will assist the Court to make long-term orders at a final hearing. 

The family consultant interviews the parties and children separately.  Children are given an opportunity to express their views if appropriate.  The family consultant will likely also observe the interaction between the children and each parent, separately.    

After the Report is released, it provides the parties with an opportunity to explore whether the matter can be resolved by way of agreement.  It is common for matters to be resolved shortly after the receipt of a Memorandum or Family Report.

Both Child Inclusive Conference Memorandums and Family Reports cannot be given to anyone other than the parties and their lawyers. 

For more family law advice, get in touch with one of our Cairns family lawyers today.

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