CUSTODY AND ACCESS ASSESSMENTS
IN TORONTO, NORTH YORK AND THE GTA
Custody and Access Assessments
This service is appropriate for parents who have been unsuccessful in resolving custody, access and other parenting issues in the context of a separation/divorce. The Custody and Access Assessment (s. 30 CLRA) helps identify the needs and best interests of the child, the ability and willingness of each parent to satisfy the needs of the child, and the child's relationship with each parent. In general, the Assessment sets out the most appropriate custody and access arrangement (parenting plan) for the child.
The courts, lawyers, parents/guardians of a family court action, and other community professionals may make referrals for this service. I may be appointed by the court or designated by consent order to provide a Custody and Access Assessment and make recommendations to parents and/or the courts.
The steps involved in this process include information gathering through interviews, reviewing professional documentation, conducting observational visits and conducting a disclosure meeting. Reaching a settlement is always encouraged and welcomed, particularly during the disclosure meeting. Otherwise, a written Custody and Access Assessment Report may be completed and filed in court. The judge references the Report to create a Court Order. However, if a trial is still required, I may be requested to testify about the contents of my Report.
A Custody and Access Assessment typically takes from 40 to 50 hours and three to four months to complete. However, this time frame may vary depending on the particular circumstances, and if a Report is requested. For work to commence, parents need to sign a Retainer Agreement that described this process in more detail and provide a retainer. Fees are usually split equally between both parents unless otherwise directed.